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Our Services

Hospice & Palliative Care

Join our Bereavement Support Group

Find support with others grieving the loss of a loved one. We will meet Monday evenings from September 13 to November 15 at the Mentor's School House - 101 N. 8th Street in Gunnison.

Group is limited to eight people. Advanced registration is free but required. To register, contact Dawn Sterwart at or 970-641-4254.

How Can Hospice Help You & Your Loved One?

Hospice is all about family and relationships.

Since Gunnison Valley Health Hospice & Palliative Care opened, we’ve helped hundreds of families through the final phase of a loved one’s life. These families include your neighbors down the street and members of the community. Today, as the only nonprofit hospice serving the Gunnison Valley, we care for patients in Gunnison, Crested Butte, Almont, Parlin, Pitkin, Ohio City, Sargents, Powderhorn, Lake City, Sapinero and parts of Saquache County.

If you’re facing a serious diagnosis or illness, you may be anxious or confused about what to do next. Maybe you just want to know all of your options.

We can help.

You may call us at 970-641-4254 for more information.

When Hospice Can Help

When is it appropriate to call Hospice? Many have no idea. Many know someone who had Hospice for just a few days or a week. They assume that Hospice should last that long.

Patients can be in Hospice for weeks, months – and sometimes years.

The duration of many illnesses is impossible to predict. To receive a Hospice Medicare subsidy, one must have a prognosis of six months or less. However, every patient is different and often, prognosis has more to do with support and pain relief than anything else.

Numerous studies have shown that patients live longer with a higher quality of life under Hospice care. Caregivers fare better when Hospice is involved earlier. We’d be happy to check with the doctor for you. Just call us. We are here for you.

Top Benefits of Hospice Care

Below are the 8 top benefits of hospice care – because you never know when someone you love might need a helping hand.


If you’ve ever tried to coordinate multiple doctors, multiple prescriptions and multiple appointments, you may have discovered that often one health provider is unaware of what another health care provider is prescribing. You will appreciate our team approach.

Hospice care is a team-centered way of caring for people. The Team is composed of specialists in hospice care; they coordinate their activities and include the patient and the family in developing an approach to caring for the patient and meeting the family’s needs.

We will see to it that everyone is on the same page and knows what is happening.

Free of charge, you can call us directly to learn more, to ask us to speak with your doctor or to schedule an information-gathering appointment. Please call us at 641-4254 for more information.


Patients eligible for the Medicare or Medicaid Hospice benefit don’t have to worry about juggling multiple medical bills. They can relax. All visits by the Hospice Team are completely covered with no co-pays or deductibles.

In addition, oxygen, medical equipment, lab tests, outpatient procedures, medications, and approved stays in the Senior Care Center for respite care or the hospital for acute symptom management is covered by Hospice without co-pay.

Many private insurance plans offer similar comprehensive coverage for Hospice. Instead of paying bills, families can concentrate on spending time with their loved ones.



Frequently, the medications required to treat the symptoms of a serious illness are very expensive. Often, they are not covered by Medicare Part D or require co-pay from other insurance.

The Hospice Medicare Benefit covers – at 100% with no co-pay – all medications required to keep the patient comfortable and symptoms managed.

Our pharmacy plan provides home delivery of medication. Our staff assists with prescription refills and they are sent directly to you.

No more last minute trips to the pharmacy!


Given the choice, most of us would prefer to die at home. The Hospice Team provides services that goes to the patient’s residence, wherever that may be – in the patient’s home, a nursing home, assisted living residence, hospital, camper, or even a motel room.

Hospice will help provide everything it takes to stay at home – from helping to have grab bars installed in the bathroom to arranging for a hospital bed, wheelchair, walker, supplies and delivery of medications.

In addition, trained Hospice volunteers provide companionship, light housecleaning, errand running, meal preparation, and a break for the family caregiver.


Families may be thrown into turmoil when they learn there are no more treatments for a loved one’s serious illness. Sometimes, it’s hard to talk about the impact of the situation with the family. Many times, patients want to protect their families from feeling sad or frightened – and families don’t want their loved ones to think they have given up hope.

That is why the family is such an important component in the care that Hospice provides. Our social worker is specially trained and talented in easing communication and providing support.

Each Hospice professional and volunteer has a caring heart and a listening ear.


Hospice cares for anyone who needs care and who has a disease that – if it runs its normal course – could take their life in six months. This means that we care for everyone from babies to grandparents with life limiting illnesses. That means we care for people suffering from heart disease, lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, cancer – whatever the disease may be.

Hospice is about quality of life and not quantity; it doesn’t mean giving up hope. It means turning to specialized care aimed at making everyone – both the patient and the family – more comfortable and focused on the time that is left.

Research shows that people who receive hospice care, on average, live 29 days longer than those who don’t.

Our goal is to make whatever time a person has as comfortable and as meaningful as possible.


It’s 7:00 p.m. The doctor’s office is closed. And suddenly your loved one is in pain. Sound familiar?

Things seem more worrisome after the sun goes down. That’s why our staff is ready to respond 24-hours a day, 7 days a week – whether to your phone call or the need for a visit.

The visit schedule and the makeup of the Hospice Care Team are individualized to every patient and family. When the patient’s situation is well under control, a check-in visit once a week may be all that’s necessary. Other times, daily visits are required to assure that the needs of the patient and/or the family is being met.


Suddenly taking care of a seriously ill loved one can be overwhelming. It’s a job most of us are not trained to do.

We don’t know what to expect. Not knowing what to do may be the most challenging thing in the world. We may not know how to do what the patient needs—from giving a bath to giving a medication.

The Hospice Team provides education and training to caregivers to boost their confidence and to assure that the patient is comfortable.

When death is near, fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all. Our Team teaches the family the signs and symptoms of approaching death and what to do about them.

Knowing what to expect can ease the burden and reduce the anxiety many caregivers feel.

Teaching families how to take care of loved ones as well as themselves– another benefit of Hospice.

Hospice Diagnosis

Hospice is for many different diagnosis. Hospice cares for anyone who has a disease that - if it were to run it's normal course the prognosis is 6 months. This means that we care for babies to grandparents and might include many different diagnosis.

For example:

  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Lung Disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson's
  • Failure to Thrive
  • Cancer

Research shows that people who receive hospice services live an average of 29 days longer than those who do not.

What Does Hospice Provide?

Hospice is 100% covered by Medicare / Medicaid and most insurance providers. Hospice covers all visits made by the Hospice Team in addition to all DME, Oxygen, Medications (related to the terminal illness), Incontinence and Medical Supplies.

And thanks to the generous donations made by our community members, no one is ever turned away from our services due to an inability to pay.

We focus on COMFORT MEASURES – pain control, sleep, nausea, constipation etc. Because we focus on symptoms, we will not routinely do vital signs. We don’t treat numbers, but rather treat what the patient is feeling/experiencing.

24 Hour Telephone Access – for emergencies call us, NOT 911 – our goal is to avoid hospitalization at all costs.

The core team members (SN, MSW, Chaplain and Certified Nursing Assistants) will visit every patient as needed to maintain comfort and manage symptoms.

Nursing Visits: Usually start at 1-2 x week, up to daily if needed.
Certified Nursing Assistant Visits: Provide help with bathing and other activities of daily living.

Hospice is not here providing care 24 hours a day, but we do train family members in how to care for patients, particularly if the patient becomes bedbound – there are many things that we can teach you to help keep the patient comfortable at home and well-cared for. You will need to have family members or other caregivers who are willing and physically able to care for the patient.

We work hard to keep you where you want to be – If keeping you at home is most important, we can often do that as long as you are safe at home. We will also provide care to patients in the Senior Care Center.

Memorial donations made to Hospice support our mission and ongoing service within our community.

The Hospice Team

Who is the Hospice Team? And who comes to my home?

The hospice philosophy embraces the team approach. Hospice nurses are available 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. We are always just a phone call away!

Your team consists of the following professional staff members:

  • Your Primary Care Physician
  • Hospice Medical Director
  • Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Social Workers
  • Chaplains
  • Therapists
  • Nursing
  • Hospice Trained Volunteers

The Grieving Process

Hospice doesn't just disappear upon death – we also help with the grieving process.

Losing a loved one is always difficult. And the grief doesn’t end when the funeral flowers have faded and everyone gone home.

Our bereavement counselor and trained volunteers stay in touch with Hospice families and provide compassionate support for at least 13 months.

We have several support groups, or if groups aren’t your thing, our social worker or volunteers will visit with you in your home

You are not alone. Call Hospice. We’ll be there for you!

Gunnison Valley Health Hospice and Palliative Care
120 North Boulevard | Gunnison, CO 81230 | 970-641-4254