ELKINS - For more than 30 years, Hospice Care Corporation has skillfully and compassionately cared for patients and families at life's most difficult time.
The nonprofit organization has dedicated itself throughout the years to caring for the terminally ill of North Central West Virginia, and boasts the only short term inpatient care unit in the region - located at 169 Diamond St.
The organization's roots may be in Elkins, but the staff serves 12 counties, including Barbour, Braxton, Calhoun, Gilmer, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Pocahontas, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker and Wetzel counties.
Experts in all end-of-life care, including grief and loss counseling, complex medical issues and pain management, are utilized to provide the most comfortable assistance to both patients and families.
"Its been rough at times, but we are doing awesome," said Clinical Manager Penny Thomas during a recent staff meeting. "We have an awesome care team where our census is growing and we're providing care to more patients. You all are going out there and taking care of patients in our in-care unit, and the families are coming back with more compliments. They are so appreciative of all the care
"Even during the storms, every single one of my staff but two made it out to see patients," Thomas added. "I have the greatest care team."
The organization's state-of-the-art Elkins facility was built in 2008 and includeds all the amenities of home. The facility's 12 private rooms include special high-tech beds, fold-out beds for family members, en suite bathrooms, flat screen televisions, a common area for families and
"We have something that no other hospice in this region has," said Cynthia Woodyard, vice president of public affairs and acess. "And thats our people and our unit."
The top-notch facility wouldn't mean much though without the dedicated staff, which numbers in excess of 40 people who cover inpatient care and in-home visits.
"The teamwork here sets this hospice apart from all the others," said Donna Diehl, director of clinical
Spearheading the medical care side of Hospice Care Corporation is Dr. Samuel Roberts. Roberts provides complex medical plans specially tailored for each patient.
"My philosophy of hospice care is quality of life along with quantity," Roberts said. "Statistics show that. We can give good quality of life and
extend the actual length of lives
at the end."
"The most important aspect is the spiritual aspect of supporting people during that transition, and I feel we are fortunate as providers to be there to help people and support their families," Roberts said.
Another aspect of care that sets Hospice Care Corporation apart from other facilities is its short-term access.
Most patient stays last between five and seven days. This allows the organization's medical team to get their symptoms under control before releasing them to go home.
Hospice Care also provides respite periods for caretakers where staff members take over day-to-day duties for up to seven days. Family members may still stay with their loved ones, but all responsibility of care is taken over by the facility's workers.
"Think about it," Woodyard said. "The population is aging, and this will go on for the next 15 or 16 years. Care like hospice will become increasingly popular because people want to be
"Here, with the staff-to-patient ratio, they (the staff) can probably anticipate when you are going to sneeze. Plus, we don't have the hustle and bustle of a larger facility."
Recently, Hospice Care Corporation was voted No. 1 for providing best hospice care in the region by the readers of The Inter-Mountain.
"This recognition speaks volumes to the care we provide," said Ron Hicks, executive vice president. "It's what's made our hospice what it is today. A community-based, community-driven hospice. We have always had that. It started out that way. In order to get this recognition, you have to have dedicated staff. A staff that puts the needs of the patients and families before their own. This award is because of that care."
Awards aside, Hospice Care Corporation workers focus on the patients and families, not recognition.
Many families express extreme gratitude for the care and assistance they receive while at the facility.
"We the family of Martha Scott indeed want to thank all the staff on each shift. For their outstanding teamwork and effort in caring for not only our mother, but the family also. The outstanding concern and kindness is beyond words. No other facility can compete nor compare with the Hospice Care staff in Elkins, W.Va., and Dr. Roberts. Many blessings to each."
Sentiments such as this touch each member of the Hospice Care Corporation staff. It is these thanks that make an otherwise difficult, emotionally challenging job so rewarding to all who have the opportunity to touch so many lives in such a time of need.