The Kavanagh House based in Des Moines, Iowa, is set for renovations to begin next month that will restore and upgrade the nearly 30-year old building and grounds, expected to cost more than $3.5 million. The remodeled hospice house will feature updates to medical equipment, technologies and building amenities aimed at improving patient and family care and comfort.
The operator of Kavanagh House, EveryStep Care & Supportive Services paused progress on the project when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation hard last year, pummeling many hospice providers with an array of financial blows. The hospice house had not experienced a major, building-wide renovation since it was built in 1993, according to Ashlee Kieler, media relations coordinator at EveryStep.
“Our goal was two-fold: focusing on patient and family experience, as well as improved clinical functionality at the house,” Kieler told Hospice News. “We knew there were significant expenses. For this project, we have been more focused on making sure we improve the house for the next 28 years, rather than piece-meal solutions that may have to be re-addressed in the coming years. We’ve taken an approach of designing the building to operate day in and day out with great efficiency.”
The Kavanagh House is named after Sister Eve Kavanagh, who co-founded the Hospice of Central Iowa in 1978 as a home hospice care provider. Now rebranded as EveryStep Care & Supportive Services, the company has 12 locations throughout the state of Iowa and serves nearly half of the state’s centrally-located counties. Part of their programming includes hospice, home health and palliative care services.
Established in 1993, the Kavanagh House was the first of two hospice homes for the hospice provider.
During the renovation process beginning in April and continuing into the fall, EveryStep will continue to provide home hospice care at its Bright Kavanagh Center Center located in Des Moines, where 12% of the population is 65 and older in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Adults in this age group are projected to make up more than 21% of Iowa’s overall population by 2030 and hover around 20% through 2050, according to a 2015 report from the State Library of Iowa.
The Hawkeye State ranks seventh nationwide in hospice utilization with 56.2% Medicare decedents electing hospice in 2018, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization. The national average was just above 50% that year.
“Because we serve so many counties, we see this as a regional hospice house, not just one for the Des Moines area,” said Kieler. “As such, we have experienced a continued need for inpatient beds and frequently are at our maximum capacity.”
Important safety and security renovations to the Kavanagh House will include a new surveillance system and enhanced communication technology, according to Kieler, with additional building for clinical improvements such as a medication distribution center, new heating and air conditioning, and in-wall oxygen units.
The interior will feature a spa room with a tub and equipment for transferring patients, along with two new shower areas for family members staying with their loved ones. Remodeling and updates to patient rooms include self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting (or “smart”) technology, while the kitchen will undergo upgrades to equipment and resources for individualized patient meals
A new entrance will feature an expanded portico to protect patients, families and visitors from the elements and enjoy front gardens, while the hospice house’s deck will be expanded into a large terrace with extra-wide glass doors to transport patients outside easily.