The mission statement of HopeWest is to profoundly change the way our community experiences serious illness, aging, and grief -- one family at a time. The mission and vision are focused on comfort, choice and dignity for those living with a serious illness and compassionate support for families, caregivers and friends. As an organization we strive to bring hope and comfort to families and patients as they face end of life challenges. We provide grief support and education to grieving children, teens, and adults. Our commitment to the communities we serve is that access to this support is available for all, whether they have experienced hospice care or not.
HopeWest had a very unique beginning, which has played a rich part in our achievements. We were founded in 1993 through a collaborative project of five health care institutions to be a comprehensive, non-profit, community-based hospice program. To our knowledge, we are the only hospice in America founded through collaboration between an H.M.O., Regional Medical Center, a competing smaller hospital, a rehabilitation hospital and a V.A. Medical Center. These diverse partners each contributed $75,000 of support or in-kind services to create our community-based 501 C(3) organization. They have continued to support us philanthropically and with integration opportunities throughout our history.
HopeWest's partnership with the Grand Junction V.A. Medical Center is an example of founding support leading to service. Our first office was on "the compound" of the V.A. We all became volunteers of the V.A. in order to meet the requirement to be on campus. The V.A. supplied free office space, one of our medical directors, a dietitian, employee health and access to their extensive medical education as part of their support. We created a joint palliative care team and integrated with the long term care unit through our geriatrician Chief Medical Officer's participation. As a result, today, the Grand Junction V.A. has received national recognition for more than 95% of all deaths in their hospital receiving palliative care services. We are very proud of our V.A. heritage and our service to veterans.
Integration activities with a variety of institutions have played a critical role in meeting our mission. We believe to reach our vision; people must "know us before they need us." That requires us to play active roles in a broad array of community activities in order to achieve the transformation we are seeking. We want to increase our communities' total awareness that the experiences of serious illness, aging, dying and grief can be walked with support and comfort.
For example, we have a number of integration activities with schools - from grade schools to universities. In order to achieve our goal of raising the bar for excellence in palliative medicine and nursing, we have integration activities with the University of Colorado School of Medicine Family Practice Residency, Colorado Mesa University, & Western Colorado Community College.
HopeWest partners with grade schools, junior highs and high schools to offer grief support and education in every school within our school district on school time through collaboration with school counselors and our child grief specialists. We have an active teen volunteer program with students from participating schools. We offer continuing education in the dynamics of childhood grief to school district teachers and counselors annually.
Another unique aspect of our organization is our commitment to the founding principles of hospice in some very real ways. We are rooted in the notion that volunteers play an integral role in the community transforming the end of life for its residents. Remarkably, we now boast more than 1,500 active volunteers. They provide service and support to our patients and families, but are also active throughout the organization in every department-from our garden club, The Tanglewood Society, to our Heirlooms for Hospice stores and IS department. Currently, the organization has over 300 employees working beside those volunteers.
In 2008, our organization achieved one of the dreams of our founders - the opening of the HopeWest Care Center in Grand Junction. Our 13 patient Care Center opened in the fall of 2008 thanks to generous funding from our community and many foundations. It is a marvelous facility that has exceeded our dreams in providing the best care imaginable for patients and their families. In addition to serving the patients in Mesa County, it bridges the gap in care for rural Colorado hospice patients struggling with difficult symptom management.
HopeWest is continually striving to create a number of specialized programs to meet the unique needs articulated by our communities. We have a very dedicated team of staff and volunteers who help carry out the important mission of HopeWest and adapt to the ever-changing needs and requests of our patients and their families. Listed below is a summary of various programs and the numbers served:
-HopeWest Hospice - Hospice care helps those living with a serious illness, and their families, focus on quality of life, comfort and control from the time of diagnosis through the final phase of life. In 2017, Hospice care was provided for 1,606 patients at home, in assisted living facilities, in nursing facilities or in a hospital.
-HopeWest Grief Support - Grief is a natural and necessary process that occurs when we experience a loss. HopeWest Grief Support offers education, counseling and support to anyone in the community who has experienced a loss. In 2017, we served more than 6,000 individuals through individual and community grief support and education groups, personal visits, phone calls and monthly mailings.
-HopeWest Kids- This program offers specialized education and support to any child or teenager who has lost someone close to them. We offer age-appropriate support groups, Camp Good Grief for children grades 3-9, Itty Bitty Camp for children grades K-2, Teen Retreat, Boomerang for those who have previously attended groups, grief groups at area schools, Healing with Horses at Hospice - equine therapy, Beyond Why - a suicide support group and individual counseling. In 2017, we served over 700 grieving children and teens.
-HopeWest Palliative Care - Palliative care is for individuals who need care and support during their illness, but who are not hospice-ready or eligible. The program has a nationally recognized "virtually integrated" program with the VA Medical Center, features expert consultations from physicians who are board certified in palliative care, and a care coordination program that serves more than 100 patients a day. In 2017, 409 patients received palliative care coordination and/or consults.
Your generosity changes our community and the world of thousands of people who face the challenges of serious illness and grief. We are fortunate to have people, like you, who believe so deeply in our mission. You are part of an extraordinary journey.
Chris Launer, HopeWest Board of Directors Chair
"We don't know what we'd do without HopeWest's wonderful people and care. Speaking as a veteran, HopeWest has gone above and beyond the call of duty to provide care to us and the community and recognize those of us who have served."
"HopeWest's Camp Good Grief helped me to remember and talk about my dad again. He died about a year ago and nothing has been the same since. But, when you're at camp you connect with people and realize you're not the only one and there are other people that are going through similar things. Camp helped me through my grief. I don't know what I would have done without it."
"Saying that 'volunteering for Hospice is rewarding' is an understatement. I volunteer for an organization that really cares about people and is respected in the community; With them I have a purpose. What more could I ask for?"
"I didn't realize how sad I was about my Dad until I started going to Hospice's grief group and talking about him. At group we made picture frames. I made mine to remember him and drew a rainbow because my Dad loved lots of colors. That picture reminds me of the good times I had with him and helps me to be strong through the tough times. Since going to grief group my mom, sister, and I can talk about him now. It's brought our family closer together."
"We didn't know how long he had to live, and we tried to make every moment we had with him precious. When his condition worsened, the doctor recommended HopeWest. We knew this didn't mean it was time to give up. We knew that HopeWest would be there to talk us through this journey and to make it as comfortable and peaceful as possible."