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Home > Medical Services > Hospice > Oldorf Hospice House > History
"The Hospice House has had a far-reaching impact on our community. It has become a center for bereavement services and grief counseling as well as compassionate, end-of-life care for patients and families unable to stay in their home. I am humbled and grateful for the amazing nurses, therapists, chaplains and volunteers who dedicate their lives to hospice." — Donna Oldorf, lead donor of $1.1 million
The beginnings of hospice developed in 1980. Dr. Don Bomkamp, a family practice physician, advocated and sought support to begin a hospice program in Cedar Rapids. After the death of his son, David, from malignant melanoma, Dr. Bomkamp was more determined than ever to allow patients to receive end-of-life care at home. The Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Medical Center stepped forward to help, founding Hospice of Mercy, one of the first programs in the state. According to Dr. Bomkamp, "The biggest asset we had was Mercy Hospital. They were four steps ahead of the entire community. They made it happen."
Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House315 18th Avenue, Hiawatha, Iowa
Twenty-five years later, a petition drive led by hospice volunteer Bill Elkington collected 3,500 signatures – drawing attention to the need for a hospice facility. This, coupled with a generous gift of $1.1 million from Donna Oldorf in memory of her husband, Dennis, a Hospice of Mercy patient, was the momentum needed to build our area's first and only hospice house.
The Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy opened May 29, 2007, after a successful "Sharing the Journey" capital campaign, which raised nearly $7 million for the project. A $1.7 million matching grant from the Hall-Perrine Foundation played a significant role in the campaign's success.
On May 29, 2007, the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy opened with the arrival of four patients. In the first 30 days of operation, the hospice staff cared for 41 patients and their family and friends.
So now "the journey continues." The Oldorf Hospice House has been an asset and resource for so many patients and families needing support, care and counseling. The homelike and serene atmosphere of the house lends itself to a place that families can convene, connect and share. Many ask for ways to memorialize loved ones or honor hospice workers. Gifts go to support the many services the hospice house provides.
Donations to the Hospice House should be mailed to:
Mercy Foundation701 Tenth Street SECedar Rapids, Iowa 52403
Donations of $1,000 qualify the donor to inscribe a brick to be placed in the hospice house courtyard or meditation pathway. Memorial gifts totaling $5,000 or more will be recognized on the hospice donor wall entitled, "The Journey Continues."
For more information please call the Foundation office at (319) 398-6206.