Hospice daffodils a sign of hope, spring

Jaclyn McDonald
Northwest Colorado Health
Lois Stoffle volunteers to help sell daffodils as part of Northwest Colorado Health’s annual Hospice Daffodils fundraiser.
Northwest Colorado Health/Courtesy photo

One of many myths about choosing hospice is that it means giving up hope. The reality is that in hospice the hope for living each day to the fullest becomes the focus.

“Hospice is about the quality of life that exists in the process of dying,” said Jo Anne Grace, Spiritual Care and Bereavement Coordinator with Northwest Colorado Health’s hospice program. “When we have time to establish a network of support around a patient and family, we are able to encourage final wishes and pinpoint what that person wants to accomplish before they die.

“We have had patients who wanted to ride a horse one last time, to go fishing and to take one final ski run down the mountain. Hospice allows the patient to acknowledge death and really plan and deal with it, so that we can work with our community of hospice staff and volunteers to make those wishes happen.”

While many believe that hospice is only for the last days of life, patients and families can receive hospice for six months or longer. Research has shown that entering hospice earlier rather than later in the course of illness has many advantages for the patient, and loved ones.

• Better pain and symptom control. When Hospice staff have more time to provide care for the patient, they can provide individualized management of pain and other symptoms offering as much relief and comfort as possible.

• Improved quality of life. Hospice focuses on the well-being of the whole patient. There is greater opportunity to focus on what matters most in life, offering more quality time with loved ones.

• Access to helpful medical supplies and equipment. A hospital bed, commode or wheelchair help caregivers cope with the increasing needs of their loved ones.

• Fewer hospital and ICU admissions. Patients admitted to hospice earlier in the course of illness are much less likely to go to a hospital or ICU in a state of crisis. They are more likely to die at home surrounded by loved ones.

• More days of life. Studies have shown that hospice patients live longer than those with a similar diagnosis who do not receive hospice.

• Bereavement support for patient and family. Grief counseling for caregivers and patients allows them to work through emotional issues before death occurs and find peace in their final days. Support for families continues after the death of a loved one.

Northwest Colorado Health has provided comfort-oriented Hospice in the Yampa Valley for nearly 30 years. As a nonprofit hospice provider, Northwest Colorado Health provides hospice to all residents who need it, regardless of their ability to pay.

Although health insurance may cover hospice, expenses such as medications, equipment and bereavement support often exceed reimbursement. Donations and fundraising events like Hospice Daffodils help cover this gap.

Support hospice by purchasing daffodils this spring. Online orders are available now, and daffodils will be delivered March 21.

They will also be available to pick up or purchase at various locations, including City Market, The Clark Store, Bonfiglio Drug and The Hayden Mercantile on March 21.

To learn more and purchase Hospice Daffodils, visit or call 970-871-7609.

Jaclyn McDonald is marketing coordinator at Northwest Colorado Health. She can be reached at or 970-871-7642.

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