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Hospice of the Valley provides quality of life at the end of life

Kay Vasilakis
kay@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” The end of life should be a time of reflection, joy and resolve. Many times it is complicated and anything but peaceful.

Lesa Russo, registered nurse case manager/certified nursing assistant coordinator for Hospice of the Valley, says hospice offers a patient and family the gift of a much more positive experience when the time of death draws near. Services are available for residents from Aspen to Parachute.

The new Hospice of the Valley evolved out of a dire need for this service. It pulled at organizers’ heartstrings to see people die alone in the hospital.



The goal of hospice is to provide quality of life at the end of life. The hospice focus is on symptom and pain management. Pain affects every system in the body and becomes all-encompassing. Hospice nurses help control the pain and secondary symptoms of illness so the patient can move on to more positive and constructive living.

Not only is the patient going through stages of denial, anger, depression and bargaining, so is the family. Hospice nurses are trained to recognize the signs of family members’ stages and help neutralize difficult situations. The patient’s need for a peaceful and loving atmosphere is always a priority.



Hearing a terminal diagnosis for the first time can be a shock. When the patient has been in treatment for a long time, is ready to stop fighting, or there are no more options, hospice can help ease the crisis situation.

When a family calls hospice sooner rather than later, a positive relationship can be established, which is a huge benefit to the family and patient.

“The relationship with us is what gets them through the really hard times,” said Hospice of the Valley Chaplain Sean Jeung.

The hospice chaplain offers spiritual care for patient and family to complement whatever faith system is already in place. The chaplain can be a bridge to a lapse in faith, with guidance to support the patient and family.

It is important to know hospice nursing is a specialty that provides nursing, social workers and volunteers. And hospice is involved with the family for a year after the passing of their loved one.

Hospice of the Valley needs volunteers. There are a variety of things volunteers can do, and they don’t have to be bedside. They can make Remembrance Bears for families, knit prayer shawls, or participate in the Bouquet-A-Day program. They can walk the dog, do laundry, or help with taxes.

Volunteers offer respite so the family can rest and take time for themselves. The primary caregivers are a critical spoke in the wheel of the patient’s journey, and often have a hard time trying to make time for themselves, because they are intricately involved in the care of their loved one.

What motivates someone to be a hospice volunteer? The positive intention for many hospice volunteers is to give back to an organization that has touched their lives in a profound way at a profound time.

“Hospice is awesome, and I’m so glad we’re back,” added Jeung with a comforting smile.

The physical address for Hospice of the Valley is 234 Cody Lane in Basalt. For more information about the Hospice of the Valley and its services, call 927-6650.

“Where we do our work is so much more important than where our computers and phones are,” concluded Lesa. “No matter how prepared the family may be, when the time comes, it is always a shock and everything seems surreal. If the family wishes, hospice can be with the family at the time of death, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”


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