Redefining Hope in Hospice Care

 In Advice, End-of-Life Planning

The Denver Hospice sets the standard for providing peace and comfort to patients navigating their end-of-life journey.

When a loved one is faced with a chronic illness, the immediate hope is that they get better. But when the diagnosis shifts from chronic to terminal, and curative treatment is no longer desired, it’s time to shift that hope for a cure to a hope for ending life as painlessly and joyfully as possible.

“Sending someone to hospice is one of the most difficult decisions we make in life,” says Melinda Egging, president of The Denver Hospice. “I understand the hesitation that patients have before turning to us. Families may feel they’re giving up, like their hope has drained away. That’s not the case—hospice is a time to redefine what hope looks like and offer solutions to end life with dignity, surrounded by people who care.”

Founded in 1978 by Carolyn Jaffe and Dr. Peter Van Arsdale and now servicing more than 6,000

patients each year, The Denver Hospice has become the region’s largest and most trusted not-for-profit provider of hospice and palliative care for patients of all ages. Here, Egging and a diverse team of specialists come together to make the most of every end-of-life journey.

Personalized and Multidisciplinary Care

When time is limited, patients want to be with their family, their pets, and their favorite blanket. They want to be where they’re most familiar. With routine hospice care, patients can receive treatment from the comfort of their own home. But if their symptoms require more monitoring, The Denver Hospice also offers a continuum of care that includes general inpatient hospice care, continuous care, and respite care.

For all stages of the end-of-life journey, The Denver Hospice provides a multidisciplinary team of professionals. Beyond the full-time, board-certified medical physicians and nurse practitioners, the team also includes nurses, social workers, chaplains, bereavement counselors, and more than 300 volunteers.

“If someone is in spiritual distress, our chaplains are excellent at helping patients and families through existential conversations,” says Egging. “Volunteers are available for bedside companionship, conversation, and to give caregivers a break. And I can’t say enough about our certified nursing assistants—they provide support for each patient’s daily living, including helping them shave, bathe, and get dressed. They have so much kindness and grace. I think that they’re heroes.”

Finishing Strong

As difficult as it is to hear a loved one say that they’re ready for hospice care, it’s crucial to respect their decision. In the end, it is the patient’s choice to end life on their own terms.

But the end never has to be a hopeless affair. “The care that we provide is centered on giving, not taking away,” Egging says. “We believe in less pain and more quality of life. We want patients to create moments of joy with family and friends.”

“Our inpatient care center has seen so many graduations, weddings, and ceremonies,” she continues. “One elderly man’s wish was to play with his band one last time, so we set up an area in the care center, and the man had a jam session for an hour with his friends. When he was done, he felt tired but fulfilled. These are the types of moments we give patients to help them create new memories.”

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