Hospice of the Valley raising money for in-patient facility | VailDaily.com

Hospice of the Valley raising money for in-patient facility

HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley is celebrating 25 years of providing end-of-life and palliative care for patients in the region. They're raising money for an in-patient facility.
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If You Go ...

What: Savour The Journey, a benefit and celebration for HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley.

Where: Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, 126 Riverfront Lane, Avon.

When: 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday.

Cost: $100 per person.

More information: This is a celebration of HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley’s 25th year and a look at its plans for an in-patient hospice facility. Call 970-569-7455 in Edwards, and 970-930-6008 in Glenwood Springs.

By the numbers: 2104 HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley

1,526: Individuals receiving bereavement support.

785: Medicare/Medicaid home-care patients.

186: Hospice patients.

114: Number of trained hospice volunteers.

78: Number of HomeCare& Hospice employees.

58: Private duty home-care patients.

To help or volunteer

In the Eagle River Valley, call 970-569-7455 in Edwards.

In the Roaring Fork Valley, call 970-930-6008.

HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley is a Medicare/Medicaid-certified home health service provider. All major insurance is accepted. HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley provides service to Eagle, Garfield, Pitkin and portions of Gunnison counties, an area covering more than 6,000 square miles Go to hchotv.org for more information.

EAGLE COUNTY — There’s not always a cure, but there is care.

HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley has spent the past 25 years caring for people and families who really need it. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to provide compassionate and dignified palliative and end-of-life care for patients and their families. It’s a big goal. They’re the only hospice from Vail Pass to Parachute and south to Aspen that provides end-of-life care.

Expanding vision

Their expanding vision includes raising around $14 million to construct an in-patient hospice and palliative-care center. There is only one between Denver and Salt Lake City, located in Grand Junction.

“There is nothing in the central Rocky Mountains, the home to many who desire to live and stay in their communities,” said Markey Butler, executive director of HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley. “We are called to action to develop a home for the terminally ill who desire to remain in these incredible mountains and river valleys.”

The goal is a 12-bed hospice and palliative-care center on four to six acres of land near Glenwood Springs, the center of their service area.

“The need for this is urgent and growing as our population ages,” said Peter Guy, chair of the board of directors.

Local banker Mike Brown’s mother and father both went through hospice care. He was in his late teens when his mother died; his father died relatively recently.

“I have experience as a young man and now more recently. It was an enormous help, not only for the patients, but for the families, as well,” Brown said.

How they started

The local hospice program was founded in 1990 when a small, dedicated group of people realized the need for hospice care in the Eagle River Valley. Margo Peter, Karen Josephson, public health nurses Marge Gates and Nettie Reynolds, Mary Hoza, Ruth Walker and Dr. Jack Eck spearheaded the volunteer effort.

In 1991, Colorado’s secretary of state incorporated Mountain Hospice. Ruth Walker helped see that the new organization was certified to take care of Medicare patients. It quickly grew, and in 1994, Walker volunteered to run it.

The organization’s current form, HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley was founded in early 2008, when a different hospice program in the Roaring Fork Valley closed, leaving a jagged hole in that valley’s end-of-life care.

The Aspen Valley Hospital, Aspen Valley Medical Foundation and Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs provided the startup capital to fill the need and launch Hospice of the Valley.

In 2009, Eagle County’s program joined, and the organization became HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley, serving Eagle, Pitkin, Garfield and parts of Gunnison counties.

Hope takes many forms, Butler said.

“For us, it’s a commitment to the communities we serve,” he said.

How they help

HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley serves the terminally ill and their families.

Even though they have a terminal condition, patients and their families are sometimes unprepared for the final phase. Once patients put some thought into it, their wishes are relatively simple: avoiding suffering, being with family, being with others and not being a burden to others.

HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley’s volunteer network ranges from social workers to chaplains; dieticians; physical, speech and occupational therapists; bereavement counselors and other volunteers. Volunteers complete training, so they know what’s expected of them.

The patient and family decide how volunteers will be used. It could be anything from holding a hand to running household errands, giving the caregivers a chance to run their own errands, fixing a meal or just brightening up the place with a smile.

Core Services

HomeCare & Hospice cares for people suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, cancer and heart disease, as well as strokes, complicated wound care and managing diabetes. They also help take care of patients who are diagnosed with illnesses that give six months or less to live.

Their Private Pay Service can provide certified nursing aides or personal care assistants for those who need round-the-clock care. Transitions care is a palliative-care program that focuses on helping people live longer with advanced illness.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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