116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The American Cancer Society Russell and Ann Gerdin Hope Lodge in Iowa City, which provides free lodging for cancer patients and caregivers traveling far from home to receive their medical care, will begin a slow reopening at the end of the summer and early fall.
A date has not been finalized as of yet, as the Hope Lodge is recruiting and training employees.
The lodge, at 750 Hawkins Drive, will open their doors at 30 percent capacity to begin with and increase as staff see fit.
Patients must be referred to Hope Lodge from their cancer treatment facility. Amenities at the lodge include personal kitchen space, essential self-care products such as towels, toilet paper, blankets, pillows and more, along with laundry services.
Patients seeking residence at the Hope Lodge must meet the qualification of living upward of 40 miles or one hour away from Iowa City.
The Hope Lodge temporarily closed its doors and paused services on March 30, 2020. Over the past 16 months, the lodge has remained active on social media platforms, encouraging followers to fundraise and donate to the American Cancer Society.
“Cancer hasn’t stopped, so neither have we,” said Sarah Schmidt, senior manager of the Hope Lodge, in a newsletter to donors and patients this summer.
Before COVID-19, patients were allowed to have visitors and were permitted to have one caregiver stay with them throughout the duration of their time residing at the Hope Lodge.
“The patient is only allowed one caregiver in the building,” Schmidt said. “We stopped volunteers from coming into the lodge at this time for safety precautions, but would love to have them back in ASAP.”
Patients and caregivers also must now take a COVID-19 test five days before their stay with the Hope Lodge. Daily temperature checks also are done at the door.
When it comes to protecting a vulnerable community, the Hope Lodge is taking many precautions that have been carefully planned out over the past 16 months.
“We’ve had a company come in and deep clean and disinfect the entire building,” Schmidt said. “We have staff using Clorox wipes and cleaning supplies to make sure we are following a disinfectant protocol.”
Staff at Hope Lodge are required to both be fully vaccinated and wear a mask, as well as practice social distancing and have their temperature checked daily.
“I don’t see any struggle with opening for patients,” Schmidt said.
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