An Iowa group dedicated to enhancing end-of-life care is honoring its volunteers and workers during November as part of National Hospice Month. Shelby Kroona is director of the Hamilton County Public Health Department in Webster City which oversees the Hospice program. Kroona says the Iowa Hospice Organization represents 74 hospice chapters in 103 locations across the state.
Kroona says Hospice focuses on bereavement care and on helping families make life choices. She says families can benefit from having the end-of-life discussion prior to anyone coming down with a life-threatening illness or injury. Kroona says about one-point-four million Americans use Hospice every year.
Kroona says: "You start at the very beginning when we admit them, about bereavement services and talking about end-of-life decisions. It’s our focus that people die with dignity and pain-free." She says the program has several priorities, including: quality, end-of-life care; educate the general public: build and strengthen relationships with palliative care; and advocate and represent the interests of Iowa hospices at the state and federal levels.
National research has found that people enrolled in Hospice survive 20 to 29 days longer than their diagnosis. "So you have a few extra days to have quality discussions and often that’s facilitated by our staff," Kroona says. The Iowa Hospice Organization will hold its annual fall conference and trade show for November 17th through the 19th at Iowa State University. Learn more at: www.iowahospice.org .