Helping Hands: Bristlecone provides in-home care to those in need |

Helping Hands: Bristlecone provides in-home care to those in need

Drew Andersen
summit daily news
Special to the Daily

On Dec. 9 the town of Frisco will host its annual tree lighting ceremony at the Historic Park gazebo. As part of the festivities, the names of loved ones will be read aloud and honored on the Tree of Memories. The name reading will not only help the bereaved to cope with their loss, it will benefit a local nonprofit organization.

Bristlecone Health Services provides in-home health care and hospice care for individuals who cannot afford such care on their own, and the nonprofit is the beneficiary of the Tree of Memories event. With a staff of skilled nurses and caring support personnel, Bristlecone provides sensitive care to those who need it the most. Over the past year, Bristlecone provided 5,464 home visits in Summit County, including to 870 patients with limited or no insurance.

Bristlecone Health Services falls under the greater Centura Health at Home umbrella, but the local entity focuses solely on Summit County. The organization has three primary functions: in-home health care, hospice care and bereavement services.

The in-home health care branch of Bristlecone’s services delivers a high level of care to individuals who cannot leave home for one reason or another. Bristlecone’s staff will work with a patient’s doctor to map out a plan for treatment. From nursing care to therapy to spiritual care with a non-denominational chaplain, Bristlecone offers a wide range of in-home health care services to individuals of any age.

“We are proud to serve those in need in our community by bringing our services to the patient’s home,” Bristlecone site manager Stacy Berry said. “We have such an amazing group of health professionals and partners working with us.”

Bristlecone’s hospice service delivers in-home care to terminal patients who would prefer to live out their remaining days in the comfort of their home. The program combines physical, spiritual and emotional support for patients and families during the often-difficult final weeks of a person’s life.

The final component of Bristlecone’s offerings are its bereavement services. Family members of patients in hospice can begin counseling immediately following the death of their loved one. Staff members and volunteers help family member cope with the loss, but the program isn’t just limited to those mourning a loved one.

“Here in Summit County, we provide anyone that walks in the door with (bereavement counseling), even if it’s for a lost pet or a divorce,” said development officer Asa Armstrong.

Bristlecone Health Services is funded through a separate nonprofit called the Bristlecone Foundation. The foundation raises money in Summit County to support individuals in the community.

“The reason we fund-raise as a nonprofit is to provide those services to the people who can’t afford them,” said public relations manager Paige Leonard.

Bristlecone Foundation accepts donations through its website (see box) and also receives grants from organizations like the Summit Foundation. Bristlecone also raises funds through its three major annual events: The Tree of Memories, the Legacy Forest and the High Country Hike for Hospice.

Bristlecone hosts the Tree of Memories event in conjunction with the town of Frisco’s annual tree lighting ceremony. While anyone can have the name of a loved one read at the event, a $20 donation to Bristlecone Foundation will also net a handcrafted ornament created by a Bristlecone volunteer at the Gatherhouse in Frisco. A reception at the Frisco Historic Park Log Chapel will occur following the tree lighting, with seasonal treats and a performance by the Summit Choral Society.

The Legacy Forest program is similar to the Tree of Memories in that community members can make a $20 donation in honor of a loved one. But instead of an ornament, a tree will be planted as part of Bristlecone’s planting day on June 4 next year. This year, more than 1,800 seedlings were planted in Summit County as part of the program.

Bristlecone’s newest event is the High Country Hike for Health Hospice. The event started this year and raises money through participation fees. The hike follows a three mile loop with views of Lake Dillon and the Tenmile Range.

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