Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care Providing Comfort at the End of Life

For 35 years, Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care has been providing comfort care to patients at the end of their lives. The primary goal of hospice is a very simple one: to ensure that every moment matters in the last months or days of life. You may think that hospice is about dying, but when you know about the services that Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care provides, you realize it is much more about living, making the small moments in life count, letting you or your loved one live their best life to the end.

People Stepping Up to Do a Good Thing for Neighbors

In 1980, the Altrusa Club of Mount Airy, with members Mary Alice Lewis, Howard O. Woltz, Claudia Bryant, and Bill Pilcher, began researching how they could bring a Hospice Chapter to Surry County to meet the needs of those in their community who were terminally ill and their families. With a steering committee in place, key business leaders and members of the community were invited for informational meetings about the role of hospice and how the area could be enriched by these services with a chapter of hospice for Surry County. Three years later, hospice became a non-profit corporation and operated through the generous contributions from local businesses, Memorial Funds, churches, civic clubs, the United Fund, individuals, donations and grants. On December 1, 1983, the first patient was served at Hospice of Surry County, Inc., with a total of 33 patients and their families served by the end of 1984, and 82 trained volunteers, a hospice coordinator and a part-time social worker on staff. After being licensed in November 1984 and then Medicare certified in 1990, Hospice of Surry County, Inc. has continued to grow with services and a continued dedication to its patients.

Hospice Care: An Important Part of a Community

Denise Watson, Executive Director of Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care, has seen many changes over the years, including two Hospice homes and additional services that hospice provides to its patients and their families.

“Our services initially started in Mount Airy, then expanded to Elkin,” said Denise.  “Eventually, areas from Yadkinville to Galax, Virginia, were added to the areas we serve. In 2005, Hospice of Surry County, Inc. and Northern Hospice of Surry County merged operations and became jointly owned by Northern Hospital of Surry County and Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, while maintaining its non-profit 501 c (3) freestanding status. To reflect that partnership, we became Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care (MVHPC). Today, MVHPC provides services from seven offices and two hospice centers across a 17-county footprint in NC and Virginia. In addition to hospice services, MVHPC provides services in a variety of programs to include Palliative Care, Transitions, and a Medicare Care Choices Model. We also offer specialized programs for Veterans, children, and pets. Today more than 500 patients are served each day in our programs, and another 2,000 are served in our bereavement program.” But while the area and services that Mountain Valley Hospice & Palliative Care have evolved, the main mission for those at hospice has remained much the same.

“In our 35 years, much has changed, but much has remained the same. Hospice supports the family unit, not just the patient, using a holistic, team approach. Care is centered around the patient and family choice, quality of life and goals of care. Hospice can provide much-needed support to the patient and family as they prepare for the loss of a loved one. Many of our staff are certified in hospice and end of life care to ensure they are knowledgeable and skilled to care for patients and families facing the end of life. Our team of professionals includes nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners to manage pain and other distressing symptoms, hospice aides to provide help with personal care, social workers to provide emotional support. Chaplains provide spiritual support and volunteers are available to provide companionship, respite or help with errands. Medications, equipment, and supplies are all provided under the Hospice Medicare Benefit. Community bereavement services are available to others who have suffered a loss at no cost as well, with support group meetings,” Denise commented.

To celebrate 35 years of serving patients and family, MVHPC is hosting a semi-formal Masquerade Ball on November 10th, 2018 at 6:30 pm at the Main Oak Emporium in Mount Airy, NC. “Our gala will begin with a social hour from 6:30-7: 30 pm, followed by heavy hors-d’oeuvres and dancing at 8 pm to the band Breaking Point from Mooresville, NC. In the spirit of the evening, each guest will receive a mask, which they are invited to wear throughout the festivities. Tickets go on sale September 24, and a limited number are available. Those interested in sponsoring or attending, should contact Melissa Hiatt at 336-789-2922,” stated Denise.

As a non-profit for 35 years, MVHPC focuses on improving the quality of life for those with limited life expectancy and their families. “Mountain Valley Hospice and Palliative Care Center has a slogan that we stand by called the ‘Mountain Valley Way,’ meaning we are committed to providing exceptional care to every patient, every time. Our patients are our number one priority and deserve the very best care, respect, and dignity. At the end of the day, our patients and the care they receive tell the story of our mission, vision, and values,” Denise said.

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