The Iris Project

site updated February 2016

A sudden change in health--or a slow accumulation of problems--creates pressures and strains of all kinds.


Just dealing with treatment decisions can be exhausting, let alone the financial pressures, emotional upset, family and work concerns, and spiritual questions that are common when health and life are threatened.


When you are facing these issues for yourself or a loved one, you need help . . .



I know. I've been there: as a hospice volunteer, end-of-life professional, daughter of dying parents, and cancer survivor. I've put my experience, knowledge, and passion to work for you in The Iris Project.


The Iris Project offers expert, compassionate, and complete consultations and education for the public and healthcare/human service professionals on

  • advance care planning and advance directives
  • approaches to care at the end of life
  • hospice & palliative care 
  • caregiving for the seriously ill & dying
  • grief and bereavement support
  • coping strategies and resources
  • healthcare ethics and medical decision making


For currently scheduled or customized programs, see Programs and Classes


For related events sponsored by other organizations and updates on important news, see News and Events

What is it?

Here are some quick definitions of key topics. For more information and links to helpful resources, see Links and Resources page.


  • Advance care planning: Conversation and a written record of your choices and preferences for medical treatment and care when you are seriously ill. How do you define "quality of life"? What is most important to you in sickness or in health? Where do you want to be cared for? Whom do you want to speak for you when you can't?
  • Advance directives: The documents you complete to record your preferences, such as a Living Will, Medical Durable Power of Attorney, CPR directive. They're called "advance" directives because you complete them ahead of the time they will be needed.
  • Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST): NOT an advance directive, the MOST is a summary of choices specific to certain life-sustaining treatments and overall scope of treatment intended for persons who are already seriously, chronically, or terminally ill. It must be completed with a healthcare professional; when signed by you or your healthcare agent and a physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse, it becomes a medical order set -- like a prescription -- which must be honored in any healthcare setting.
  • Palliative care: Care that focuses on relief of pain and other distressing symptoms, instead of cure. Also pays attention to social, emotional, psychological, spiritual and practical concerns. Can be offered along with curative treatment. Usually delivered by a team of professionals including a physician, nurse, social worker or chaplain.
  • Hospice care: Palliative care for persons whose physician believes are unlikely to live longer than six months. A fully paid Medicare Benefit (also available under Medicaid). If enrolled in Medicare, patient must forego curative care in order to receive hospice care. A team of professionals cares for the patient in his or her home, including nursing homes, assisted living, hospitals, and dedicated hospice residences.

Iris is the messenger
of the Gods.
She cuts the thread
that binds the soul
to the body.
Her name also means "Rainbow,"
symbolizing hope,
new beginnings, promises.
In the language of flowers,
Iris means,
"I have a message
for you."

Completely revised and up to date, "Your Right to Make Healthcare Decisions" explains Colorado's advance directives in clear, plain language! Includes forms for Living Will, Medical Durable Power of Attorney, and CPR directive. Click on the image to download your copy!



Now also available in Spanish.


Resources and information for states other than Colorado!