Karlene Hobbs

April 25, 2021
Karlene Hobbs
Karlene Hobbs

Care coordinator delivers magazine and patient peace

Karlene Hobbs cannot drive by a dollar store without popping in for holiday decorations.

The cube where Hobbs sits is rarely without colorful decor and she keeps a growing stash of light-up pumpkins, grinning turkeys and twinkling snowflakes just in case a patient is stuck on her unit for a holiday.

“I love decorating patient’s rooms,” said Hobbs, a 11 1/2-year UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital care coordinator. “I try and make a difference in any way I can.”

One fall afternoon Hobbs heard about a patient whose family was hoping they could show him an issue of Hot Rod magazine before he passed. The man had an article published in the magazine, and he hadn’t seen it yet. Staff were searching online and calling nearby stores to see if anyone had the issue, to no avail. After her shift ended, Hobbs headed to a grocery store for dog food. Out of curiosity, she checked out the magazine section.

“Sure enough, there it was,” said Hobbs who snapped up the issue, turned right back around and drove back to campus. She called her colleague, Helen French, elated she found the publication. French, a physician assistant in UCHealth’s blood cancer and bone marrow transplant center, was not surprised as Hobbs is known for her critical behind the scenes work.

“She does so much for our patients and brings such positive energy to the floor,” said French. “And we really need that up here.”

The grateful family read the article to the patient before he passed. A memory, said French, the family will hold onto forever.

Hobbs knows the end of life experience for family members is special and solemn. She is thankful she played a small role in making that moment a little easier for a family who had to say goodbye to a loved one.

“It wasn’t extravagant,” said Hobbs. “It’s often the simplest actions that have the biggest impacts.”

It was part fate, said Hobbs, that led her to the magazine aisle. If the staff hadn’t been talking about the magazine, if she hadn’t run out of her pooch’s favorite kibble, or if she went to another grocery store, she would not have found the magazine.

“It’s what we do,” said Hobbs. “We find a way to help.”

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About the author

Molly Blake is a communications specialist for UCHealth. She joined the team in 2019. Molly spent much of her journalism career freelance writing for various publications including The New York Times, NBC news, alumni magazines and more. She is the proud spouse of a United States Marine Corps veteran, and wrote extensively about their life in the military.