IRH History

Iowa River Hospice was one of the first hospices in the country to receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.

1983 was the official start of Iowa River Hospice, Inc.  With surveys, planning and fund raising complete, the Articles of Incorporation of the Hospice were filed with the State of Iowa on January 29, 1983. Iowa River Hospice is a non-profit organization committed to serving community needs in Jasper, Marshall, Tama, Southern Hardin and Southern Grundy Counties.

Community interest and support for the hospice concept came from many people.  Beth Weitzel, RN and Paula Rutherford RN were at the forefront of Iowa River Hospice conception. Iowa River Hospice’s first Executive Director was Edie Avery. Dr. Milton Van Gundy and Dr. Tom Foley were involved with Hospice during the planning stages. Dr. Milton Van Gundy also assumed the volunteer position as  Medical Director for many years. Our current Medical Director is Dr. Timothy Swinton who has assumed this position in 2000.

2001 brought a large monetary gift from Mid Lander’s estate for a possible Hospice Home.  A steering committee was formed, hospice homes visited and extensive research and planning took place.  Following a successful capital campaign to raise $2.1 million, our Hospice Home became a reality in 2009 with our first inpatient admitted on July 13th .

Philosophy and Mission

Hospice is described as a centrally-administered program of palliative and supportive services that lends physical, psychological, and spiritual care for the dying and their families. Its services are provided by a medically-supervised interdisciplinary team of professionals and volunteers. Collaborative care is achieved through community resources. Services are provided on the basis of client and family needs. Hospice care affirms life. It exists to provide support to those in the last stages of incurable disease, that they might live as fully and comfortably as possible. We recognize dying as an inevitable process, no matter the cause. Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death. Hospice exists in the hope and belief that through appropriate care and a compassionate community, patients and families may be free to attain a degree of satisfactory mental, emotional and spiritual preparation for death.

Our mission at Iowa River Hospice is to provide quality holistic care and support to patients and their loved ones facing end-of-life needs. Our team provides high-quality, compassionate, end-of-life care for our patients and support for their family members and caregivers. Our staff is known for expertise in pain and symptom management. We have created a special program to assist our patients with realizing special wishes or helping them meet needs beyond hospice care. Our professional grief counselors offer comfort to all community members grieving a loss.