Iowa Passion in Hospice Care


“Do something that you are passionate about, something that you want to do day-in and day-out to make a difference,” says Lynnea Andersen, Executive Director for Hospice of the Midwest. Lynnea is a social worker who has enjoyed her work in hospice care since 1998.

Why did you choose hospice/home care?
Lynnea Andersen: I wanted to help people in delicate, life-changing situations; I wanted to help create and preserve memories and make life special at a tough time. Most of all–to help families see that hospice isn’t the end, and instead, is the beginning to living your life to the fullest–no matter how long or short our time is.

What is your favorite memory of serving a patient?
Sitting with a patient who was nearing the end of his life.  I was pregnant at the time…soon to have my first child.  Sitting at his bedside, he put his hand on my cheek and said “you are going to make a great mom. The time will go fast, so be attentive.  Let me tell you about my first child…”  He spoke proudly of his daughter, all the trials and tribulations that they had together.  I walked outside the patient’s room to find his only daughter listening: “I have never heard some of the things my dad talked about; thank you so much.”   That was a turning point for me, and made me realize how important it is to be there for a patient — in whatever capacity they need you.

What’s on your bucket list? 1. Live each day to the fullest; 2. Trip to Alaska with my family; 3. Trip to Australia with my family.

Providing a Ministry of Care and Dignity to Hospice patients with Dementia.

A Message from our Chaplain Greg Friedrich
Hospice of the Midwest {Johnston, Iowa}

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or related dementias can be challenging and at times very frustrating. It can also be very rewarding. When caring for those with dementia it is helpful to remember a few important things:

  1. Grief and loss are spiritual concerns for those with dementia. Because of an altered sense of time, a confused person may experience grief from previous years as intensely as if the loss had just happened. Validating the moment, hearing of their sadness is critically important. In the early stages of dementia grief is common. The patient is aware of their situation and their inability to do certain tasks. Besides the grief of the patient, there is also the grief of family members and caretakers. The role of the chaplain is not to solve the issues but to listen and be a support.
  2. Anger. It is not uncommon for those with dementia to be angry at the situation which they find themselves in. Often they know they are angry but do not know why or what to do with that anger. Sometimes the anger is addressed to family members who are the primary caretakers. Often the family are viewed as the enemy. Sometimes the anger is addressed toward God. Again the role of chaplain and caretakers is to listen. Don’t say “don’t be angry.” What the patient wants and needs is someone to listen to them.
  3. Simplify. As the dementia progresses this becomes very important. Focus on one thought, theme, or topic. Do not bombard the patient with questions. Use familiar prayers, hymns and readings. Touch the patient if they allow you to do so. Sometimes the most important ministry to a hospice patient with dementia is a ministry of presence. This becomes critical when the patient cannot longer speak. At times this ministry of presence may take the form of walking up and down the hall with the individual, or sitting next to them in the dining room or quietly sitting next to their bed.
  4. Music is an important gift to be used. We know that one of the last parts of our memory to be lost is musical memories and religious memories. If you can, sing to and with the patient. Use music to calm the patient during “sun downing.” Use music at the bedside of the dying patient. Remember to use music that the patient is familiar with.
  5. Be flexible. Expect the unexpected, do not be embarrassed or shocked at what the dementia patient may do or say.
  6. Keep a sense of humor. It will help you survive the difficult days.

For more information on our services and our holistic approach, call Hospice of the Midwest at (515) 218-2143.

Serving Iowa: Hospice with Quality & Compassionate Care

Serving Iowa with quality and compassionate care, our hospice team provides a professional, proactive approach to end-of-life care. At Hospice of the Midwest, we strive to advocate for patients families and caregivers by providing the best hospice experience. We serve counties: Greene, Boone, Story, Marshall, Guthrie, Dallas, Polk, Jasper, and Warren.

Experts in our field.
Biggest Hearts in the Midwest.
Helping our patients cherish every day.

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