Engel named executive director of Mt. Evans Hospice

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By The Staff

Five months after the resignation of longtime executive director Louisa Walthers, Mt. Evans Hospice and Home Health Care has a new leader: Evergreen resident Kathy Engel.

Engel is no stranger to Mt. Evans; she served as the agency’s director of patient services from 2001 to 2006, and returned to that position last September.

“My heart is here,” says Engel, who was selected from 50 applicants to fill the executive director position. “I know first-hand how important the services we provide are to the community.”

Engel is not planning any major changes to those services.

“What I do want to change,” she says, “is community awareness about Mt. Evans, what we offer, whom we serve, and where we work. Our office may be in Evergreen, but our field staff logs tens of thousands of miles each year covering our service area, which reaches from Lookout Mountain to Georgetown in the I-70 corridor, from Morrison to Grant on the 285 side - and everything in between.

“We’re fairly well known as a hospice,” she continues. “But we want the community to be more aware of what hospice entails so we can start care earlier, ensuring a better end-of-life experience for both patient and caregivers.”

Engel says the focus of hospice treatment is on comfort care and maximizing quality of life.

“Our team providing hospice care in the home includes registered nurses, nurse aides, social workers, chaplains and volunteers,” she says. “Each plan of care is customized to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patient and family.”

Still, Engel says it’s important for the community to know that Mt. Evans’ work extends beyond hospice care.

“Our home-health services include skilled nursing and therapy following an injury or surgery,” she says. “We provide ongoing services and support for people with chronic illnesses and long-term disabilities, and we help elderly residents maintain their independence and safety.”

Mt. Evans’ medical staff includes physical, occupational and speech therapists who are specially trained to assist with rehabilitation in the home, often sparing patients a longer stay in a hospital or nursing home.

One doesn’t have to be a patient to take advantage of Mt. Evans as a community resource.

“Everyone is welcome to call our office with questions about home health, hospice, bereavement, or issues related to caregiving or long-term planning,” Engel says. “

Engel adds that Mt. Evans offers numerous services to the community at large, including grief and caregiving support through individual counseling, support groups and educational presentations.

Mt. Evans serves those in need whether or not they have adequate means of paying for the services.

“This is the beginning of a new era in the wonderful history of Mt. Evans,” says Rodney Hock, president of Mt. Evans’ board of directors and member of the selection committee. “The road will not be smooth; there will be many barriers to cross.

“The world of health care is in flux, and the organization — and its new executive director — must be ready to adapt to whatever happens.”

Engel brings more than 20 years’ experience in the health-care field, including clinical management, system implementation, training and clinical care.

For more information about Mt. Evans, visit www.mtevans.org.