Remember Hospice founding mothers

Lynda Parker
Heart of the Mountains Hospice

As July 4 approaches, we think of our national Founding Fathers, George, Tom, John…

We at Heart of the Mountains Hospice are losing two of our most precious resources, our founding mothers. Joan Gaskins has been executive director, providing solid leadership and vision since the inception of Hospice in Grand County in 2001. And Carol Kelly has been our clinical coordinator and head nurse, the soul of practical compassion for 13 years. These two ladies exemplify the caring sharing attitude that has provided quality in-home care options for families facing terminal illness throughout our county. While Carol coordinated patient services, nursing visits, equipment, oxygen and prescriptions, Joan coped with insurance reimbursement, grants, state audits and the many challenges of fundraising necessary to keep us solvent.

It’s said that no one is irreplaceable, but these two ladies come close. If you’ve heard good things about our Heart of the Mountains Hospice and respect it’s vision for excellent and economical care so that quality of life is preserved to its last days, it’s because of these two women.

However, our Hospice windows are open wide and we are proud to announce a restructuring whereby we can provide ongoing quality services to our terminal patients and more efficient use of scarce nursing talent in the valley.

Our new Executive/Medical Director is Mikee Tennant RN, formerly with Middle Park Medical E.R., and lab supervisor for years with John Irven at the 9News Health Fairs. Mikee brings extensive nursing and medical management experience to Hospice as well as great enthusiasm for health care and familiarity with the needs and resources of this county.

Lisa Wild, RN, has worked as a Hospice nurse for eight years and has stepped up to become Clinical Coordinator, weaving together the many services Hospice can provide to meet each patient’s individual needs.

No patient is ever turned away from Hospice because of inability to pay. Medicare and private insurance programs reimburse us a fixed amount for patient care regardless of our actual costs. Thus, Hospice must raise a full 50 percent of our operating budget from grants, donations and fundraising activities. We depend on the generosity of our many friends who appreciate the need for compassionate care so our loved ones can live out their lives in comfort and dignity in their own homes.

So mark your calendars, Tues. July 15, Swing for Hospice, our annual golf event at Pole Creek golf course. Not a golfer? Okay, sign up for our August swim across Grand Lake. Register for any of our activities and learn more about our services at, or call Lynda at 970-887-2520.

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