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Published on May 22, 2008

Dennis & Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy marks one-year anniversary

Cedar Rapids-Mercy Medical Center is pleased to mark the one-year anniversary of the only hospice house in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City corridor, the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy.  Following a community-wide capital campaign to raise funds for the Hospice House, the facility opened the doors to its first patients on May 29, 2007.  Since that time the house has served more than 330 patients from the seven county area surrounding Cedar Rapids.

The 22,000 square foot Hospice House, located at 315 18th Ave., Hiawatha, is open to patients from any area hospice program who are unable to remain in their homes. Patients and their families are cared for 24 hours a day by a team of hospice professionals and volunteers that includes the patient's physician, nurses, social workers, home-health aides, chaplains, dietitians, pharmacists, physical therapists, music and massage therapists and trained hospice volunteers.

The Hospice House also serves as a community bereavement center, offering support services to people of all ages. The Hospice House incorporates 12 patient rooms in a warm, homelike atmosphere with hospital-standard medical resources and accommodations for children, families, and meal preparation.  Each patient room provides access to a private outdoor patio where the bed may be moved outside.  Walking paths, gardens, a chapel/meditation room for all faiths and a library are also included.  So that family members may communicate with one another even at a distance, portable videoconferencing capabilities are available to patients as well.

"We are pleased we've been able to provide comfort and assistance to so many families in their end-of-life journey," says Leanne Burrack, director of Hospice of Mercy.  "From the very beginning it was apparent just how great the need was for this type of service.  The feedback from families has been overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to continuing to serve the needs of hospice patients and their loved ones."  

Planning for the Hospice House was spurred by the community.  Hospice volunteers led a campaign to collect more than 3,500 signatures to raise awareness of the need for a hospice house. Donna Oldorf's generous lead gift of $1.1 million in memory of her husband Dennis, who was a Hospice of Mercy patient, made it possible to proceed with plans for the house.  In addition, the Hall-Perrine Foundation awarded a $1.7 million matching grant in support of the project, and more than 2,000 donors stepped forward to make the house a reality.

For more information on the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy, call (319) 398- 6496.

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