Hospice News: Colorado Hospice to Launch ‘Center for Living Your Best’

HopeWest, a Grand Junction, Colo., nonprofit hospice provider, is building a new $12 million complex called the Center for Living Your Best to provide comprehensive services for seniors who wish to age in place. In addition to the center, the hospice is also launching handyman and lawn mowing and other services designed to help patients stay in their homes for as long as possible.

The suite of services offered through the center includes adult day care, programs for all-inclusive care for the elderly (PACE), clinic staffed by nurses and nurse practitioners, palliative care, meals, a salon and barber shop, and transportation services, in addition to their core in-home and inpatient hospice and palliative business.

“We are changing the world as we know it in terms of end-of-life care, because the landscape has changed in terms of who our patients are and what their needs are. We are now in the business of aging,” HopeWest’s CEO Christy Whitney. “Diversification is the only way to really meet the needs of patients and their families in this last chapter of life, which is extending for longer periods of time. Our mission hasn’t changed, but the ways we go about fulfilling that mission has changed.”

Members of the center will pay monthly dues with discounted rates available for 6-month and 12-month memberships, including transportation to and from the center as well as field trips organized by the center. For other services such as the salon and barber shop, members pay a la carte.

Most health care services offered through the center—the clinic, palliative care, and PACE —are typically paid for through Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance.

The project has been in the works for four years and required the development of a nearly 40 page business plan. HopeWest is sharing its plan with other nonprofit organizations through the National Partnership for Hospice Innovation’s Innovation Lab.

“We started looking at PACE as a potential service line to broaden our impact on the community,” Whitney said. “As we explored the concept we decided to privatize it and offer it to all the seniors in the communicate who can participate. The design is to offer services that don’t currently exist in the community that can help people remain in their own homes as they age.”

Components of the center will also provide support for patients’ families, such as grief counseling and bereavement services, as well as activities for seniors during the day to give their caregivers time for self-care or to address other priorities.

To support these efforts, the hospice invested in artificial intelligence systems that include predictive analytics and can interface with insurers’ databases and those of the area’s Accountable Care Organization, in which HopeWest is a participant. The system enables them to anticipate patients’ needs and in the long run the hospice believes data from the system could help support payor and referral partner contracting.

Prior to developing the center, HopeWest developed a unique model for its 13-bed inpatient facility near Grand Junction. The facility’s campus is open to the community for weddings and other events, and includes a commercial restaurant that according to Whitney is the second-highest rated in their community on a popular travel website.

“We want to help death become a more normal part of everyday lives, so we have a lot of amenities.our campus has become a community asset,” Whitney told Hospice News. “There are so many more activities that happen here that don’t directly involve hospice care. Part of the great work of hospice is asking how we can change culture, how we can change our community, and how we can help increase the capacity of communities to care for each other.”