Hospice of Saint John (HOSJ) – Lakewood Colorado

Recently I’ve been cleaning things out, sorting through files and papers, and I ran across my new employee orientation book from HOSJ.  The “Our History” section is filled with information that I wish I could share all of it here.  Here are the highlights that still make me grateful to have been a part of HOSJ for a short time, and even more grateful to have been trained there, a place I refer to as my “first love” of hospice.

“The Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem opened the first hospice in 1048, a medieval way-station for travelers journeying to the Holy Land.”

“The Hospice of Saint John was founded by Father Paul von Lobkowitz, O.S.J. in 1977 and is the second oldest hospice in the United States.”

“Since it’s founding, the Hospice has provided comfort care to over 20,000 terminally ill patients and their families.”

“Hospice care seeks to alleviate physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, and to control the accompanying symptoms.”

“The Hospice of Saint John is a Religious Foundation, but a non-sectarian health care environment.”

It leaves me wondering what the number cared for was at the time of it’s closing in 2013.  I can’t believe it’s been almost five years since then, and what a huge hole it has left in the community.   There were two home hospice teams and an inpatient unit.  The inpatient unit could be used for Respite stays, or General Inpatient stays for symptom management and was licensed as a long term care as well.  Many hospice patients were able to finish out their days at HOSJ as Routine hospice patients, and didn’t have to worry about where they would live.

Last November, Christ’s House Hospice Foundation brought Kelley Scott (Executive Director of Clarehouse, and President of the Omega Home Network of homes) to Colorado to start spreading the word about the Social Model Hospice House (SMHH) concept.  A gentleman that Kelley knew joined us for a small group information session,  his goal being a SMHH for the homeless here in Denver.  The next morning, Kelley was at Denver International Airport awaiting her flight back home when she received a call from a woman here in the NW Denver area.  She also had a hospice house project in the works.

Kelley asked me to return that call and we spent about an hour on the phone sharing our missions and projects.  Turns out, we both worked at HOSJ and never met.  She’s a Social Worker, I’m a nurse.  How is it that two people that worked in the same place but never met have placed upon their hearts a burden to open homes to care for the terminally ill?  Some folks would say coincidence.  Not me, it’s God’s call on my life.  Since HOSJ’s closing in 2013, we know there is a need for these homes.   I thought I was the only one heading down this path, now there are three of us to share this journey with and support each other along the way.  On the 19th, we will be meeting with department of health employees to clarify our projects for them and to make sure we are proceeding correctly with regard to regulations.  Please be praying for us!


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