Understanding Hospice

What is Hospice?

Hospice care provides physical, emotional, social and spiritual support for terminally ill patients and their families. Care is provided in their home or wherever they reside. Patients and their families receive assistance with all of their end-of-life needs including pain and symptom management.

When is the right time to ask about Hospice?

It's never too early to learn about Hospice care. End-of-life care may be a difficult topic to discuss, however it's best for families to have these conversations before a crisis happens.

Is Hospice only for cancer patients?

No. While UnityPoint Hospice provides care for patients with cancer, we also care for patients with other illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, heart disease, lung disease, neurological disease, liver disease, renal disease, HIV/AIDS and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) are also eligible for Hospice services.

Is Hospice a place?

No. UnityPoint Hospice works alongside the patient and family to make the time they have together the best it can be. Most often this occurs at home, a residential or assisted living facility or in a nursing home. Care may also be provided in a hospital setting or at UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's Hospital Ed & Joan Hemphill Hospice Inpatient Unit.

Who pays for Hospice services?

Hospice services are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans. No person is denied care based on an inability to pay for services. 

What are your hours?

Hospice patients and their families have round the clock access to a professional medical team, seven days a week. Simply call (319) 369-7744 and someone will assist you.

How do I get Hospice services or know if I can have Hospice services?

Anyone can make a referral to by calling (319) 369-7744. Once a referral is received, we can guide patients and families on what steps to take next.

Is it true Medicare will only allow six months of benefits for hospice care?

This is a common myth. Medicare does not limit hospice care to six months. Patients may enroll as soon as their physician and hospice medical director determine their illness is terminal, with an estimated prognosis of six months or less. Knowing they can't possibly predict exact life expectancy, Medicare and all insurance carriers allow hospice to provide care for as long as it's needed, well after six months if necessary.

How does Hospice help my family?

UnityPoint Hospice is there to provide compassion and care for the entire family affected by the illness. We provide one-on-one counseling, support groups, memorial services, Camp Embracing Memories, community referrals and bereavement support after the patient has passed. All of this support is free to the family and patient under the Hospice benefit. Hospice can also provide respite (or a break) for the family or caregiver.