Hospice services return to Grand County
Nearly eight months after Grand County’s only home health and hospice provider discontinued local services, a new agency has stepped in to fill the gap.
Namaste Hospice began offering home health, palliative and hospice care to Grand County residents on Tuesday.
Jackie Zinkgraf, administrator for Namaste, explained that the Medicare-certified agency was founded in 1998 by a group of social workers that wanted to provide care to underserved groups, starting with the homeless population in Denver.
“We’ve continued to look for ways to serve those who are underserved,” Zinkgraf said. “It came to our attention that there was no agency in Grand County, and we felt that that was obviously an underserved population.”
Zinkgraf added that Namaste’s Director of Clinical Services Shannon Winegarner has previously lived in Steamboat, so she is familiar with the area and pitched the expansion into Grand County.
As of Wednesday, Namaste had already received more than 10 referrals for Grand County residents. The group has found extensive support for their services both locally and from partner agencies.
“It’s widespread the welcoming that we’ve received from Grand County residents themselves, the case manager at the hospital there, all the way down to people here in Denver who are excited about it,” Zinkgraf said.
While staffing issues were cited as the primary reason for the departure of Grand’s previous hospice provider, Northwest Colorado Health, the team at Namaste feels confident they can navigate the challenge.
The director of clinical services has moved up to Grand County and is providing nursing care along with a group of part-time nurses. A number of team members on the Front Range have offered to go up to Grand to support the group, and Namaste has already hired a local certified nursing assistant and occupational therapist.
“Staffing can always be tricky,” Zinkgraf said. “There’s a nursing shortage, especially when you talk about areas that are hard to reach during the winter. We have a good plan as of right now to service everyone out there.”
Namaste is still hiring in Grand County, and the job listings can be found at http://www.namaste-health.com/careers. Learn more about the group and services provided by calling 970-744-3996.
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The Colorado Department of Transportation has closed Colorado Highway 125 in Grand County with no estimated timetable for reopening.