The ducks are back and ready to race! The Rubber Ducky Race for Hospice is on Tuesday, July 25 starting at 5pm at the Old Town Hot Springs. Thousands of ducks will race down the waterslides, which is a delight for all ages! This beloved community event supports Northwest Colorado Health’s non-profit Hospice program, which is available to anyone who needs it, and celebrates the many patients and families who benefit from Hospice services.
Hospice provides comfort-oriented care for community members with a terminal illness to help ease the physical, emotional and spiritual pain for patients and families through complete support and skilled personalized care at home, in assisted living and in nursing homes. But Hospice care doesn’t end with the passing of a loved one.
Support for families is an important part of Hospice. We provide grief counseling to help caregivers and patients find peace in their final days together, and for one year following a loved one’s death for family members. Additionally, our Medical Social Worker supports families in handling logistical needs that may feel overwhelming to those who are preparing to lose, or have just lost a loved one.
In addition to the grief counseling that is provided for Hospice families, we offer a variety of opportunities for Community Grief Support that are open to anyone who has experienced a loss. Ongoing support groups focus on understanding death and honoring connection with a deceased loved one, while making a healthy transition into life without that person. Participants share and explore their grief in a comfortable, supportive setting among others coping with similar losses.
“Grief group makes you realize that you’re not alone,” says Annette DellaCroce, a bereavement group participant. “We’re all hurting in some way, shape or form and being in the group provides comfort. It’s a safe place free from judgement or criticism. You can share feelings and not worry about being pushed to ‘get over it.’ It’s just such a wonderful asset for our community and I look forward to it every week.”
We also work with community partners, such as Humble Ranch equine-assisted therapy, to host grief workshops periodically throughout the year, giving participants an opportunity to dive deeper into their heart space and navigate their grief journey.
“I pretty much suffered in silence for about a year before reaching out for help,” says Nicole Longo, a bereavement group and Humble Ranch participant. “The experience at the Humble Ranch has by far been the most magical experience that I’ve had. Knowing that I wasn’t alone, that other creatures experience loss and have feelings, but that life still goes on. And being at the Humble Ranch workshop reminded me that it’s ok to still live my life and to experience joy and happiness.”
Although health insurance may cover Hospice, expenses such as bereavement support, medical social work, medications and equipment often exceed reimbursement. Donations and fundraising events like the Rubber Ducky Race help cover this gap and allow us to provide these vital community services to anyone who needs them. When you purchase tickets for the Rubber Ducky Race this summer, you are not only supporting Hospice patients, but also our neighbors who are navigating life without their loved one.
Tickets are $10 and offer a chance to win cash and other prizes. Purchase online now at northwestcoloradohealth.org/rubberducky. You do not need to be present to win.