Life is sweet at home

Meet Evergreen Hospice

Joe La Fleur in the Reflection Room

The first thing I noticed about EvergreenHealth Hospice in Kirkland is that the staff and its surroundings made me feel serene. From the moment I was greeted by a trained volunteer to walking around the landscaped gardens, I felt safe and at home.

Interim Manager Joe La Fleur explained that the public and private spaces at the 15-room facility are all designed to provide comfort and support for short-term (3-5 days), acute care patients so they can return home. The only free-standing hospice center in King and Snohomish counties, Evergreen Hospice has one main goal – to bring compassionate care and comfort to those facing a life-limiting illness.

“Many people think hospice provides day-to-day care throughout the duration of their transition to death,” said La Fleur. “Actually, hospice provides most care at the individual’s home. This facility is really designed to stabilize patients when they need extra help for example with conditions such as breathing or adjusting medications.”

The Evergreen Hospice team includes specially trained physicians, nurses, CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants), social workers, bereavement coordinators, chaplains and volunteers. These team members spend most of their time visiting patients at home, providing expert pain management and helping family members learn how to help their loved ones.

Let’s take a look at Evergreen Hospice

Joe La Fleur shows the children’s play area.

La Fleur showed me around the 25-year-old facility, starting with the spacious Reflection Room. It offers a quiet spot where people can rest and reflect, gather with family or can be used as a memorial service venue.  Outside, trails wind around a variety of landscapes ranging from a koi pond with a waterfall to an elegant rose garden.

The building has two wings, each with its own kitchen, nurses’ station and community spaces where family and friends can gather. A children’s play space helps keep younger visitors occupied.  Families are encouraged to bring food to prepare and share while they are staying with their loved ones.

All of the rooms are exactly the same – not very “hospitally” with a minimum of equipment. They are furnished like mini-residences and can sleep 2-3 extra people. Each features a large, private bath, views of the garden and its own hummingbird feeder. “One volunteer comes every week to clean and fill the feeders, even in winter,” observed La Fleur with obvious admiration.

The gardens are designed to promote serenity, meditation and quiet.

When asked about demographics, La Fleur noted that about half of facility patients come from the hospital before going home. The other half is comprised of people who come from home for extra care. He added that the facility serves adults and has served patients ranging in age from 18 to 110.

When I asked more about the serenity I felt at Evergreen Hospice and how staff and volunteers cope with death, La Fleur explained gently, “When you are around death you come to a realization that it is part of life. For most of history death was normally managed by families and people died at home.”

He added, “We are here to help people through this phase.”

To read our first blog about Evergreen Hospice, please visit:

What You Need to Know about Hospice – Joe La Fleur explained

  • You do not need to give up resuscitation rights.
  • You can stop hospice at any time. You can restart it later.
  • There is no right or wrong.
  • Hospice is for those who want more comfort as opposed to long-shot, curative efforts.
  • Hospice offers a safe, comfortable place to reflect on emotional, existential and spiritual concerns – to find peace.

For more information:

Evergreen Hospice 12822 124th Lane NE, Kirkland, WA  98034

For all questions, please call 425-899-1040