Hospice donations raised over the years have funded the dedicated hospice
suite at Gunnison Valley Health’s Senior Care Center, providing
a private and larger space for families with a life-limiting illness.
Gunnison Valley Health’s Director of Home Medical Services Pam Brunsell
said the hospice suite has been filled since the Senior Care Center opened
in November of last year.
“Hospice is an important service in our community, providing quality
end of life care and family support to more than 22 families on average
each year,” said Ms. Brunsell.
“Thanks to the incredible efforts of Arlene Kowal and Carol Barton,
who for years were the driving forces behind hospice, we are able to continue
to thrive and make a difference to many lives within our community,” she said.
Hospice began 23 years ago when registered nurse, Arlene Kowal, saw the
need to bring end-of-life care to those facing a life-threatening illness.
Approaching the Hospital Administration with her idea, she was tasked
with researching the concept for the Gunnison Valley, establishing policies
and procedures, and designing a robust volunteer program. With the program
built on much needed volunteers, 40 interested community members signed
up to participate. Two years later, Carol Barton joined the hospice effort
as co-director with Arlene and, along with their volunteers, were active
in the community raising much needed funds to support the program.
Retired founder and active volunteer of hospice Arlene Kowal said hospice
was originally formed with a passion to provide a quality of life to those
suffering from a life ending illness.
“Knowing the donations collected over the years has provided a dedicated
suite for those to receive the care they need while families share their
last moments with their loved ones makes it all worthwhile,” said
Mrs. Kowal. “The hospice garden which can be viewed from the hospice
suite was built by Carol Barton and provides a respite for families and
residents at the Senior Care Center,” she said.
For more information on Hospice or to volunteer, please visit gunnisonvalleyhealth.org.