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Grand’s hospice provider to discontinue services

Northwest Colorado Health has announced it will be discontinuing home health and hospice services in Grand County.

The only end-of-life care provider for the county gave its 30-day notice to the state on Oct. 14 with the final day of service to be Nov. 13. Northwest Colorado Health, a nonprofit, started providing service to Grand in 2016.

According to the provider, the change comes as a result of staffing shortages related to the difficulty in recruiting and retaining nursing staff for the program. It added that the agency has been “actively” trying to hire local staff since May without any results.

“Recruitment of nursing staff in Grand County has been a struggle,” Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Einfeld said in a release. “We have done everything we can think of, but at this time, we do not have the personnel resources to be able to safely provide this service in Grand County.”

The agency explained its staff has been traveling to neighboring counties and, as the winter approaches, does not feel that quality services will be provided with the current model.

Effective immediately, Northwest Colorado Health will not take new referrals for home health or hospice services. The agency is developing a transition plan for patients currently on services.

Grand County Commissioner Rich Cimino said during Tuesday’s meeting that the county government has never provided hospice services, and that it cut home health services as it was a high cost for a small number of people. Northwest Colorado Health stepped in to provide that service four years ago.

“All three of us want hospice available in our county,” Cimino said. “If I have to do hospice someday, I want my last two weeks to be in my home.”

County Manager Kate McIntire indicated that the Grand County Rural Health Network is taking a lead in discussing how this service might be provided locally in the future. Specifically, the Rural Health Network is pulling together a group of stakeholders to discuss what those options are.

“I can tell you right now with everything going on with public health and the fires, there is no capacity to take that service on,” McIntire said of the county government’s ability to provide hospice or home health. “It is a difficult program to run financially.”


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