The Iris Project

End-of-Life Care

*Although some information is specific to Colorado, this chapter contains helpful information about hospice and palliative care in general, eligibility and service options, picking a provider, and paying for care. 

Palliative care addresses pain, distressing symptoms and side effects of serious or advanced illness, as well as the social and spiritual challenges it presents. Hospice care is palliative care provided to persons whose physicians believe have a six-month or less life expectancy and are willing to forgo curative treatment. Palliative care is available as a bedside consultation in the hospital or as a limited outpatient service provided by independent practitioners or special teams from a hospice agency. Palliative care does not require a terminal diagnosis and can be provided along with curative treatments.

There are about 65 hospice agencies in Colorado providing care from 85 locations around the state. The majority of hospice care is provided to the patient and family in the patient's home, including private homes, nursing homes, and assisted-living residences. There are 9 dedicated hospice inpatient residences in the state: 3 in Denver, and one each in Boulder, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, Fort Collins, and Greeley.


Some hospices are very large, serving several hundred patients at a time; others are small, serving a few dozen or fewer. Each hospice has its own "flavor" and twist on the basic services. Use the link above to the National Hospice Locator to learn more and to search a database of hospice providers.

Advance Care Planning and Advance Directives


  • Caring Bridge: a free blogspot for those facing personal challenges. You can set up your own Web page to keep family and friends informed of changing circumstances and receive messages of support.
  • Caring Connections: comprehensive Web resource on advance care planning and caregiving
  • everything for caregivers of aging parents, including advice and information on money matters, home care, end of life, coping and connecting, links to local resources, discussion boards and support forums, news
  • Hospice Foundation of America: tools, reading list, and links for caregivers to persons in hospice
More to come! Keep checking back!