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Home > Mercy News > Mercy launches innovative center to support family caregivers
Published on December 10, 2015
Mercy Medical Center announces the establishment of Iowa’s first comprehensive center for family caregivers – the Family Caregivers Center of Mercy. An open house and ribbon-cutting at the Center, located at 901 Eighth Ave. SE, will take place Thursday, Dec. 17 (details below).
The Family Caregivers Center of Mercy is community-focused and designed to provide caregivers, regardless of hospital or physician affiliation, with the support they need as they care for a loved one. Each caregiver will be paired with a volunteer caregiver coach who will work with the family to develop an individual support plan that connects them to existing community resources. Additional resources available through the new Center will include: respite care; music, art, pet and massage therapy; a 24/7 phone line for immediate help; a resource library; assistance with household tasks from Center volunteers; and more. These resources will be phased in during 2016.
"Because of their increased responsibilities, family caregivers are at higher risk for many health problems and are less likely to get the medical care they need," said Kathy Good, director of the Center. "To address this growing problem and provide support for caregivers, the idea of the Family Caregivers Center of Mercy was born. We are so pleased to create this innovative resource – the first-of-its-kind in the state."
Kathy Good was a caregiver herself after her late husband, Dave, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 56. Kathy saw the need for a comprehensive resource to support caregivers in the community.
There are an estimated 425 million family caregivers nationwide in charge of adults with chronic conditions. Here in east central Iowa, there are more than 52,000. The number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in east central Iowa is estimated to be more than 16,000, 3,200 of whom are in Linn County. All of these numbers are projected to grow yearly as our population ages.
The Family Caregivers Center of Mercy has already developed working relationships with local support organizations such as United Way, Heritage Agency on Aging, Aging Services and the Alzheimer's Association. Mercy will work with those agencies to connect families with the resources they need.
As the vision of the new Center is realized, it will help caregivers determine the help they need, where to find it and how to ask for it, how to navigate the medical, financial, human service, long-term care and end-of-life systems, how to access timely information and how to make adjustments as the condition of the patients change.
"True to our mission, Mercy Medical Center is stepping up to meet the health needs of our community," said Tim Charles, Mercy president and CEO. "The Family Caregivers Center of Mercy will be an essential resource for family caregivers throughout Eastern Iowa."
The Mercy Foundation is leading fundraising efforts for the Center. Already, more than $1 million has been raised for a supporting endowment.
Initially, the Center is assisting 50 families. Center leaders hope to add another 100 families by the end of the second quarter of 2016.
If you’d like more information on or about the Family Caregiver Center of Mercy, call Kathy Good at (319) 550-2664.