EveryStep Marks 44th Anniversary Serving Iowans

February 7, 2022, marks the 44th anniversary of EveryStep Hospice. What began with a meeting of six people in a Des Moines nun’s home has grown to a program that touches thousands of lives each year.

A nurse and native of Ireland, Sister Eve Kavanagh had a mission to create specialized care for the dying.  Arriving in Des Moines in the summer of 1976, her primary transportation was her bicycle. In early 1977, she put an ad in a small neighborhood newspaper asking anyone interested in hospice to come to her house for a meeting.

That small gathering led to more meetings, more participants and finally, a task force, which filed the necessary papers to incorporate Hospice of Central Iowa under the laws of Iowa on February 7, 1978 —the official “birth date” of EveryStep Hospice.

But EveryStep’s roots run even deeper — to 1908, when a group of nurses saw the need for public health nursing in Des Moines and founded an organization to fulfill that mission. Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, founded in 1908, has since grown to offer a home health care program; specialized education and home visits for prenatal women, new moms and their babies; interpretation services to assist immigrants and refugees; developmental screenings and referrals for growing children and their family members; services to help older Iowans live independently; and community health and wellness programs.

In 2011, Hospice of Central Iowa changed its name to HCI Care Services and in 2012, HCI Care Services and Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa created a community partnership that united the rich legacies of two community nonprofits into one organization – and one common mission.

Formerly known as HCI Care Services & Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, the organization changed its name to EveryStep in October 2018, following an eight-year journey that saw multiple nonprofit programs join within a united family of services, including the grief and loss program called Amanda the Panda and several more community hospice and care programs.

Today, EveryStep’s service area is concentrated in 47 counties; however, EveryStep’s impact extends across Iowa, with at least one program available in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Mergers, name changes and growth have only strengthened the focus and mission of EveryStep: to empower individuals, support families and strengthen communities.

To learn more about EveryStep, visit www.everystep.org. If you or someone you know is struggling to find the support they need, please contact EveryStep at 515-558-9946 or complete the commitment-free, confidential “Find Care” form on EveryStep’s website at www.everystep.org/find-care. EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.

Pictured above: Sister Eve Kavanagh