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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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HOSPICE OF DUBUQUE. In 1981, a group of nurses saw a need for specialized end-of-life care in this community and began organizing a new non-profit organization, Hospice of Dubuque. One of the nurses began training other nurses in her home through death and dying workshops held twice a week for four weeks. (1) In May, 1983, Hospice of Dubuque began serving the Dubuque County terminally ill and their caregivers. Volunteers provided care until the first staff member was hired in 1987. Medicare and Medicaid certification was attained in 1990 and care by the Hospice Interdisciplinary Team was fully developed. In 1995 Hospice of Dubuque continued to respond to the needs of the greater Dubuque community by becoming licensed to serve families in Illinois, followed by Wisconsin licensure in 1997.

The Tree of Life memorial service honored and remembered friends and family. With every donation, loved ones were assigned a light on the Hospice tree in WASHINGTON PARK and their names were printed in the program. The tree remained lit for about two weeks. (2)

In 2009 a staff of approximately sixty members served clients in the tri-state area. To better care for its clients, Hospice purchased property along John F. Kennedy Road that was once Steve's Ace Hardware. Construction on a new facility began in the fall of 2009 once road work along Kennedy and Pennsylvania was completed in October.

The number of families served annually has increased. In addition to the organization’s growth, Hospice of Dubuque’s responsiveness could also be measured by its high referral conversion rate. Ninety-four percent (94%) of the patients referred to Hospice of Dubuque were admitted into the program which compared to the referral conversion rates of 80% nationally and 81% in the state of Iowa. Hospice of Dubuque’s care, when measured by national benchmark data, exceeds both the state and national levels.

Hospice affirmed life and recognized dying as a part of the process of living. The organization existed to provide support and care for persons with a life-limiting diagnosis so that they might live as fully and comfortably as possible. Hospice neither hastened nor postponed death. Hospice existed in the hope and belief that through appropriate care and the promotion of a caring community sensitive to their needs, patients and their families would be helped through the process of dying and grieving.

Hospice of Dubuque was incorporated as a tax-exempt corporation in 1982 under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code and cared for the Dubuque area’s terminally ill and their loved ones since 1983. As the community’s not-for-profit hospice, Hospice of Dubuque focused upon its mission of providing compassionate care to the terminally ill and their loved ones. The organization was governed by a voluntary Board of Directors comprised of community members.

In 2016 Dr. Mark Hermann, medical director for Hospice, received the American Cancer Society Lane W. Adams Quality of Life Award. The award "recognizes individuals who consistently exhibit excellence and compassion in providing care to cancer patients, going beyond their duties to make a difference in the life of cancer patients and their families." (3)

Hospice of Dubuque in 2017 served 865 patients and families. That was an increase of nearly 15% over the past year. The agency served all of Dubuque County, parts of Delaware, Jackson and Jones counties in Iowa; parts of Jo Daviess County, Illinois; and parts of Grant and Lafayette counties in Wisconsin. Although Hospice provided end-of-life care to patients of any age, 66% were at least 80 years old. (4)

The 1993 Dubuque City Directory listed 1725 Delhi.



1. Gwiasda, Susan B. "Hospice Co-Founder Celebrates Growth," Telegraph Herald, August 26, 1996, p. 1

2. Gwiasda, Susan B. "Bereaved Find Solace in Tree of Life," Telegraph Herald, May 20, 1998, p. 3A. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19980520&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

3. "American Cancer Society Honors Local Medical Director," Telegraph Herald, January 18, 2016, p. 3A

4. Yager, Alicia. "Hospice Sees Surge in Demand," Telegraph Herald, November 21, 2017, p. 1A