May 23, 2023
EveryStep Hospice Names Julie Korpela Kavanagh House Team Director
With a background in nursing and medical management, EveryStep Hospice nurse Julie Korpela is well-equipped to take on the role of director of EveryStep Hospice’s Kavanagh House in Des Moines.
Julie began her nursing career on the floor of a Des Moines hospital, working nights in oncology and renal dialysis. As she started having a family and sought more regular hours, she found a job in the insurance industry as a case manager, where she spent over 17 years.
When the medical insurance industry was undergoing changes, Julie was worried about her job stability. A friend who was a nurse at EveryStep’s Kavanagh House suggested she consider working at the hospice care facility. “I decided to go into hospice nursing just to keep up my skills,” says Julie. But the team atmosphere and EveryStep culture soon made hospice care her passion. She’s been with EveryStep nearly 20 years.
One reason Julie is committed to EveryStep is her respect for EveryStep chief medical director, Dr. Tom Mouser. “You know, he really cares. He not only cares about the patient — he listens to them. He tells them, along with the caregiver, whether it's here or at home, what we're trying to achieve and why we do what we do. But he also gives time to teach the nurses. We just don't get orders. He really talks it out and that's when you learn the most.”
Julie also appreciates the team atmosphere of EveryStep Hospice. “The patient’s case manager can't be there 24/7 and a nurse on an 8-hour shift needs to go home and take care of themselves. So, it is teamwork. You take care of that individual and make sure whoever is picking up the torch will be able to step in and understand the symptoms that are being managed and what has changed. It’s a lot of communication. We're a team.”
When the opportunity arose to become director at EveryStep’s Kavanagh House, Julie was encouraged by several team members to apply. “I love serving as a nurse and I’ve been in management for a long time. I took a long time thinking, do I want to do this? Because I was perfectly comfortable, but I wanted to take on the challenge.”
EveryStep’s Kavanagh House opened its doors in 1993 and was renovated in 2021. The Des Moines landmark continues to provide 24/7 care, comfort and support to hospice patients and their families.
News that a different Des Moines hospice home is closing saddens Julie. “We in the community work as partners, so I’m very sad for them. It’s a beautiful building and we’ve worked together in many situations. The need for hospice is there, so whatever the decision was to close the house, I know it wasn’t easy.”
Expert around-the-clock pain and symptom management – in the comfort of a peaceful, homelike setting – is what sets EveryStep’s Kavanagh House apart. Julie looks forward to continuing her work with the patients and families there. “You invest a lot of yourself emotionally. You cannot help but fall in love with these families. It’s a really good feeling to be handed such a great team, and an organization that lives by their words and demonstrates it every day.”
EveryStep Hospice helps those living with a serious illness make the best out of every day. EveryStep Hospice is Iowa's oldest and largest non-profit, community-based hospice provider. Most hospice care is provided through in-home hospice services. However, when a patient needs around-the-clock hospice care to manage their pain and symptoms, EveryStep’s recently renovated Kavanagh House provides a home-like atmosphere with private bedrooms, living rooms, family kitchens, children's play areas and other family amenities. You can find EveryStep Hospice programs based in Centerville, Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Mount Ayr, Mount Pleasant, Osceola and Winterset.
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. EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.