We support our mountain community by providing compassionate and experienced care during challenging times. A highly trained, caring staff also helps family members by offering counseling services, support, and education.
Mount Evans Hospice was founded in Evergreen, Colorado, in 1980 by a group of volunteers who responded to the community's need for hospice care, offering terminally ill patients the option to die with dignity and in comfort in their own homes. Mount Evans Hospice was one of the first hospice organizations in Colorado. As community needs evolved, home health care for non-terminal patients was added. In 1995, Mount Evans started Camp Comfort, a weekend bereavement camp that addresses the specialized needs of grieving children.
Over time, Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice services evolved to provide a team of paid and volunteer caregivers to help stabilize the problems of patients and evaluate their assets. As the health of the patient improved, self-sufficiency increased. The organization provides services for patients regardless of their income level or status of insurance and helps reduce risk of poor health and decreased financial status.
In 2016, our agency placed in the TOP 100 of the HomeCare Elite out of 10,000 home care agencies. This distinguishes Mount Evans among the top 1% of Home Health Care agencies in the country. We achieved this TOP 100 status three of the last four years, placing us amongst only a handful of agencies that have demonstrated continued excellence. We also received the non-profit of the year by the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce in 2011 and 2016.
• To provide in-home medical care and supportive services for individuals of all ages and assist with their rehabilitation, recuperation, or end-of-life issues;
• To provide assistance for family caregivers and help reduce the physical and emotional demands of providing care 24 hours a day, seven days a week;
• To provide counseling and education to families making long-term care decisions or going through the grief process.
Sometimes it takes a community
Keith is an attractive man with a big smile.
He's also a shy man who appreciates life, and is grateful for all the wonderful gifts life has given him. Keith lives a quiet and modest existence near Bailey, in a small cabin with his three-year-old constant companion and therapeutic dog, Stetson.
It wasn't always that way for Keith. He worked in security for many years until he hurt his back in a work-related accident. He has used a wheelchair since 1993, and has frequented too many hospitals and nursing homes in the difficult years since. A proudly self-reliant man, Keith discovered that his injury deprived him of not only his livelihood and mobility, it threatened to rob him of his treasured independence.
He also discovered that he's not alone.
You see, it takes a community from Bailey to Bakerville to support this man so he can be as independent as possible. Karen Smaniatto, a Mount Evans Home Health nurse, has been checking on Keith every two weeks for the past four years, filling his medication planner and helping to ease the constant pain he feels. Like most of her colleagues, Karen doesn't necessarily clock out at the end of each appointment. She's forever alert to her patients' challenges, and she knows that there are few challenges that can't be overcome with a little help from a neighbor.
"Many of our patients receive care and support from our social workers," explains Karen. "Our social workers reach out to our fellow community supporters for their assistance."
Stetson is trained to straighten out Keith's electric wheelchair when it gets stuck, but Stetson wasn't always able to pull his human friend out of holes in the deck resulting from rotted planks. It was only a few months ago that Karen and her husband were slathering wood sealant on his deck to preserve the repair work that volunteers from the Kiwanis Club of Evergreen completed just before winter was scheduled to arrive.
Although Keith always enjoys grilling steaks and stirring up a mean dish of spaghetti, through Park County Social Services he and Stetson have an in-home caregiver from Touch of Care who's been coming by twice a week for the last six years to help with cleaning, shopping, meal preparation and personal care.
It was Evergreen Christian Outreach that supplied firewood when Keith was running out last spring, and it was money from the Evergreen Lutheran Church Grove Sale that provided him with a comfortable mattress to replace his previous one stuffed with old clothes and rags. When Keith found it difficult to hear his television or carry on a conversation, it was Conifer Salvation Army that helped him purchase hearing aids.
If Keith doesn't have to face his need alone, neither is he alone in his need. Hundreds of people across the mountain area struggle quietly with want, and they will all testify that a single falling domino can start a merciless cascade devastating first finances, and then lives. Thankfully, a small army of caring individuals, agencies and service organizations across the mountain area stand ready to help, together ensuring that from Crow Hill to Floyd Hill, no one need ever stand alone.
"I'm always so grateful for the cooperative support and spirit of caring in our mountain communities," Karen says. "I've witnessed it up-close and personal."
Yes, it's a community that supports our friend, Keith, and his companion, Stetson. And it's the thought of that community, filled with generous and caring people, which brings a big, beautiful smile to Keith's face.