PHOTOS BY PHOTO ARTISTRY BY MELINDA
Hospice: Specialized care for patients who have an advanced serious illness and a limited prognosis. The focus of this care is to offer holistic comfort and enhance life quality by supporting the patient and their family.
Palliative Care: Specialized medical expertise for people living with a serious illness. These patients continue to receive aggressive treatments and interventions for their illness.
The talented team at Mountain Valley has been working hard since 1983 to provide the highest level of compassionate, quality hospice and palliative care for those who are facing a serious illness. In the last 37 years, Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care have served over 21,000 families in 18 counties in North Carolina and Virginia.
To understand the scope of services offered by Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care, it is important to understand the unique differences between their Serious Illness Services. Oftentimes, we hear the word ‘hospice’ and immediately assume end-of-life care. That is not always the case. Hospice patients may live for days, weeks, months, or sometimes years. Our goal is to reach those in need as quickly as possible so that we can serve and enhance their quality of life, without waiting until the last minute. Palliative Care patients may live for many years or may even stabilize from their disease and not require services any longer.
For those who are served by a Palliative Medicine Specialist specifically in Palliative Care, the patient is often actively receiving treatments such as chemotherapy or blood transfusions and seeing many other doctors and specialists. We are simply an added layer of support, offering expert symptom management and goals of care discussions, ultimately helping patients and their families navigate the complex medical decision making that is often necessary when facing a serious illness. This support can include the patient’s entire family and takes place in the location that the patient calls home. Patients who prefer an office setting may be seen in one of our Serious Illness offices located in Winston-Salem or King.
For patients who are receiving Hospice services, holistic care can take place wherever the patient calls home. There are also two hospice homes for patients who require acute medical attention to their condition. These homes are located in Dobson and Yadkinville and they can be toured virtually online at the Mountain Valley website.
The health care team at Mountain Valley consists of physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, chaplains, bereavement counselors, and volunteers.
Anyone can refer a patient to any of our services. This includes physicians, friends, neighbors, members of the community and even the patients themselves. Those considering hospice or palliative care are encouraged to reach out at the earliest stages of illness and to not delay. Many people have said that they wish they had started hospice care sooner.
Kristie Szarpa, the Senior Director of Practice Management for Mountain Valley says, “We love what we do and are always looking for more referrals, specifically earlier in the illness journey than when you would call hospice. Serious illness can be frightening, and we run in when others tend to run away. We recognize that there is always more that can be done to enhance quality of life.” Kristie also shared with me that one of the goals of the staff of Mountain Valley is to help patients by “returning their personhood.” That expression really struck me and Kristie elaborated by saying that so many patients can get lost in the medical shuffle. The caring team at Mountain Valley returns the patient to their personhood by helping them find a way to live the fullness of life, regardless of illness trajectory.
The essential services provided by Mountain Valley extend well beyond Hospice and Palliative Care. For example:
- They offer Alzheimer’s support groups so you can get the emotional help you need. It’s also where you can learn more about Alzheimer’s, related dementias, memory impairment and ways to manage your world.
- Losing someone you love can be challenging emotionally, mentally and even physically, whether you were their primary caregiver, family member or a close friend. This is why Mountain Valley offers Grief Support to each patient’s family as well as the community at large, at no cost to the individual.
- Kids Path is available to children who are facing the challenges of a serious illness or grieving after losing a loved one. Kids Path enhances the quality of life for these children and their families by helping them manage and adjust while regaining a sense of normalcy.
- Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care answered the call to become a We Honor Veterans partner. They are on a mission to serve those who have served us – every veteran, every family, every time. Through staff education, learning about unique needs for veterans, coordinating care with Veterans Affairs, or providing veteran-to-veteran volunteer programs, Mountain Valley is committed to providing the best quality health care possible.
- Mountain Valley even recognizes the role that our pets play in our lives! The Pet Peace of Mind program provides helping hands and financial assistance so that caring volunteers are able to help patients with pet care needs.
To learn more about the compassionate and valuable services provided by Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care, visit them online at www.mtnvalleyhospice.org or call 888.789.2922. You’ll also find them online at facebook.com/mtnvalleyhospice/ and instagram.com/mtnvalleyhospice/. Offices are located at 3069 Trenwest Drive in Winston-Salem, 141 Spruce Pine Way in King, and 401 Technology Lane in Mount Airy. Inpatient units are located at: 243 North Lee Avenue, Yadkinville, and 945 Zephyr Road in Dobson.