The Denver Hospice Expands Pediatric Program, Builds New Center

The Denver Hospice in Colorado recently expanded its Footprint Children’s Services pediatric program, including construction of a new support center. The tailored specifically to pediatric patients and their families, as well as provide education, training and back-office support for the the hospice.

The Denver Hospice provides hospice and palliative care throughout nine Colorado counties. Through its Footprints Children’s Services program, the hospice has been serving pediatric patients and their families for 30 years with hospice, palliative, concurrent, respite and bereavement care. Growth of services like these are continuing to grow in the Denver metropolitan area at a predicted rate of 7% annually, according to Melinda Egging, president of The Denver Hospice.

“As the Denver metro area continues to grow, we anticipate we will continue to serve a growing number of patients,” Egging told Hospice News. “Through the Footprints Children’s Services program, The Denver Hospice is uniquely positioned to serve the needs of the community. Footprints Children’s Services was recently expanded to meet the growing need for pediatric hospice and palliative care and grief support services.”


Colorado ranked 13th in the nation in hospice utilization during 2018 with 53.2% of Medicare decedents electing hospice, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Utah held the lead in utilization at 60.5%. A report from the U.S. Census Bureau stated that the overall population throughout the city and county of Denver in 2019 was anticipated to increase by roughly 11,000 residents compared to the previous year, representing a 1.5% uptick and a greater reach for health care providers, including hospice and palliative care.

Resources such as Footprints Children’s Services offer pediatric patients and their families specialized hospice and palliative care, as well as anticipatory grief counseling. Caregivers and families have access to a 24/7 pediatric patient support line.

The program reaches an average of 60 patients and families daily. The Footprints’ interdisciplinary team includes a pediatrician, nurse practitioner, child life specialists, registered nurses, chaplains, massage therapists and social workers.


“The Footprints Children’s Services program expanded to now include comprehensive, integrated hospice and palliative care and grief support services,” said Egging. “More than a dozen new staff have been added to the program. With the addition of specialized experts in pediatric hospice and palliative care, the expansion of the program provides dedicated resources and staff focused exclusively on providing the highest-quality care for this unique population.”

Youth-specific hospice patients are among the most underserved communities in the nation and face a variety of end-of-life care needs that are unique from those of adults. A growing number of hospice providers are focusing on younger populations with serious or terminal illness, tailoring programs and services to these patients and their families, as well as opening doors to pediatric hospice and palliative care facilities.

The Denver Hospice has opened
the Amy Davis Hospice Support Center dedicated to children and families as a combined grief support center, education and simulation center and administrative building. The center offers services to Footprints patients and families that were previously not available in the area, according to Egging. The 24,000-square-foot center features dedicated spaces for grief support including individual and family counseling rooms, a large, specialized children’s grief room and an outdoor play and counseling area. 

Named in honor of the late philanthropist Amy Davis, the inpatient center has 24 private suites with patios in a home-like setting that includes a family dining room, multi-faith chapel and hydro-therapy spa, along with gardens and walkways with light-filled ambiance aimed at increasing patient comfort levels.

Egging stated the center serves as an opportunity for The Denver Hospice to enhance adult and child bereavement services, increase space available for medical education while greatly reduce administrative operational costs. This allows the hospice to dedicate more resources to patient care. The support center also provides a complimentary meeting space for other not-for-profit organizations. The Denver Hospice is an affiliate of the Care Synergy network, which will also use the space.

“While we all wish the community’s need for pediatric services didn’t exist, we’re committed to serving these patients and families with expert and comforting care,” Egging told Hospice News. “It’s emotionally hard, but critically important work.”

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