The Hospice Philosophy

When a person has a limited life expectancy, the focus of treatment often turns from cure to care. Hospice care is an interdisciplinary approach designed to meet the needs – physical, psychological and spiritual – of a person at the end of life.

What is Hospice?

The word “hospice” comes from the same root as “hospital,” “hospitality” and even “hotel” – all referring to caring for a person’s comfort and needs.  “Hospice Care” means care provided to persons who are terminally ill.

Some hospices are specialized, in-patient facilities where terminally ill patients come to stay.

Hospice services may also be provided in long term care facilities or hospitals.

The most common provider of hospice care are home health agencies and in-home hospice services, which support persons who wish to be cared for at home. 

Some hospice facilities also provide respite care, for a five day period, where patients can receive care on an in-patient basis.

But hospice is more than a place or agency – it is a philosophy of healthcare for persons at the end of life that seek not to prolong life unnaturally, but to ensure that in the time left to the dying person, his or her life is as full and comfortable as possible.

Hospice seeks to enhance the dying person’s quality of life and to provide support for family and caregivers.

A Team Approach to Care

An interdisciplinary team works with the patient and family. Hospice care providers include:


  • Serves as a key member of your Hospice team.
  • Provides medical direction to the Hospice team in the development, provision and revision of your plan of care.
  • Participates with your Hospice care team in the management of pain and other symptoms with a goal of comfort care.
  • Coordinates with other physicians in regard to your care plan.

Hospice Chaplain

The chaplain is available to support you emotionally and spiritually during this part of your life.

While all chaplains have an advanced ministerial education, they also receive specialized training in hospice care and the unique spiritual issues that can arise with serious illness, loss and grief.

Hospice Nurse

  • Assess your medical needs and coordinates with your physician and other team members to achieve physical and emotional comfort.
  • Provides education to you and your caregivers concerning the needs of seriously ill individuals.
  • Assess current needs for medication and equipment, and anticipates future needs.
  • Provides 24 hour consultations and/or home visits, for problems, questions, concerns or needs.
  • Recognizes this new experience by listening to you, teaching you, helping you to clarify your choices, and by providing a sense of normalcy to this experience.

Certified Nurse’s Aide

Providing assistance with personal care is the primary responsibility of the aide. The aide visits depending on your needs. The nursing assistant may provide personal care and assist with activities of daily living. The aide can also train other family members who care for you.

Family Support & Bereavement Counselor

Our Licensed Professional Counselor provides support and education to help patients, families, and caregivers deal with personal, resource needs, emotional and care planning issues that arise. 

Bereavement provides follow-up for 13 months after the death of a loved one, including periodic mailings and telephone calls to provide information, support and inspiration.


  • Stay with the patient so the family can take a break (respite care).
  • Run errands.
  • Help with household tasks.
  • Provide one-to-one companionship.
  • Offer music, pet and story-telling therapies.

Hospice & Insurance

Hospice services are now covered under nearly all insurance plans. However, the coverage and payment rates vary greatly from plan to plan. If you have any questions about your coverage, please call the Hospice office. Hospice del Valle will always provide care for those who are unable to pay for services.

Hospice in Nursing Homes

Many times as the illness progresses, the responsibilities of caregiving grow beyond the capacity of family and friends.  When that happens, the work aspect of caregiving can become overwhelming.  When the loved one’s care is transferred to the professional staff of a nursing home, family and friends may once again be able to be the loving supporters they desire to be.

Hospice serves the patient and family in either the private home or the nursing home. The role of the hospice team is to provide professional coordination for all caregivers. And, of course, whatever services hospice paid for when the patient was at home (medications, equipment, visits by hospice staff) are paid for in the nursing home.

Hospice del Valle staff

Amber Cortez, LPN
Executive Director

Dr. Patrick Thompson
Medical Director

Dr. Jennifer Harbert
Medical Director

Tamara, RN, MPH CHES
RN Case Manager

Dolores Mondragon
Administrative Assistant

Susan Foster, MSN, RN
Quality Consultant

Emilia Herrera
Grief and Bereavement, Social Work

Cory Velasquez
RN Case Manager

Bonnie Gonzales

Kelly Diss
CNA, Volunteer Coordinator

Chris Yocom

Hospice Board of Directors

Anthony Bagwell
President (interim)

Karla Willschau

Kimberly Temple

Marguerite Hoagland

Arlyn Oakes

Mary Jo Merkley

Contact Info

Phone: 719.589.9019



514 Main Street
Alamosa, CO 81101


Hospice del Valle Logo


514 Main Street
Alamosa, CO 81101