Appalachian Regional Healthcare System
During Perioperative Nurse Week, November 11-15, 2013, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) recognizes its perioperative nurses for their important role and commitment to safe patient care. Perioperative nurses specialize in the care of patients immediately before, during and after surgical and other invasive procedures.
In 1979, Operating Room, or OR, Nurse Day was established by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN). A few years later, the observance was expanded to a full week. In 2000, OR Nurse Week was changed to Perioperative Nurse Week to more accurately reflect the broad spectrum of care provided to surgical patients by these nurses.
On October 4, 2013, Governor Pat McCrory proclaimed the week of November 11-15, 2013, as “Perioperative Nurse Week” in North Carolina. The proclamation highlights the contributions these registered nurses make to patient safety and the opportunities and challenges facing the profession.
Joan Messner, BSN, MHA, CNOR, Director of Surgical Services at ARHS said “The perioperative nurses at both Watauga Medical Center (WMC) and Cannon Memorial Hospital (CMH) are truly invaluable. Their commitment to outstanding patient care is the cornerstone to a successful surgical department.”
ARHS is honoring these nurses during the recognition week.
In observance of National Diabetes Month, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) is hosting a free Diabetes Health Fair on Saturday, November 16th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Boone Mall.
Health educators will provide diabetes risk assessments and education, as well as offer blood sugar screenings, check blood pressures and evaluate body mass index. Spanish speaking health educators will also be available.
Linda Bond RN, BSN, Certified Diabetes Educator said “Diabetes is a challenging disease that affects the entire family in many ways. My hope is to educate the community about the risks of diabetes and to hopefully improve the quality of life for those who have it.”
Watauga Medical Center (WMC) offers a Diabetes Self-Management Education Program and a Diabetes Support Group. The program, which is led by Bond and registered dietitians, provides patients with the skills they need to manage their diabetes. Participants are also eligible to take part in WMC’s Diabetes Education Group classes. The support group meets once a month, May through October.
“You do not have to face diabetes alone,” said Bond. “We are here to support our patients, their families and our community.”
To learn more about the Diabetes Health Fair, contact Candy Jones, RN, Community Outreach Nurse at 828-268-8969 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Diabetes Programs offered through ARHS, visit www.apprhs.org/diabetes-self-managment.
This October, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) remembers Wilma Price Redmond during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The late Ashe County native joined Watauga Medical Center (WMC) in 1981. She worked as a Mammographer, and a CT and ultrasound technologist before being named the director of Radiological Imaging Services in 1988. In 2002, Redmond lost her battle with Breast Cancer. In her memory, The Wilma Redmond Fund was established. The Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation uses a portion of the donated funds to provide free first-time mammograms for women 35 years and older, as well as support, through the Seby B. Jones Cancer Center, to individuals in the community who cannot afford diagnostic follow-ups. The balance of the Fund is for breast cancer program improvements, as well as educational opportunities for staff.
More than 10 years after her death, Redmond is remembered by her staff as a legacy of hope. Martha Daniels, BSRT,(R)(M)(CT)(QM), Chief Mammographer at Cannon Memorial Hospital (CMH) and Gloria Payne, RT(R)(M)M, Chief Mammographer at the WMC Outpatient Imaging and Laboratory Center were both mentored by Redmond.
“Wilma was a great person, said Daniels through a reminiscent smile. “She had a special talent to make the department flow like a well oiled machine. I remember Wilma always had an open door policy and she truly cared for her team and her patients.”
Daniels, who has been with the healthcare system for 22 years, has a heart for women’s health and loves her job.
Payne, who has served 25 years in the Imaging Department at WMC said “I, too, studied under Wilma while on rotation at WMC. She taught me how to do mammography shortly after she hired me. Wilma was delightful, always open and understanding. She was the type of person who wanted you to achieve your best.”
“I performed the mammogram on my own mother when we found out she had breast cancer,” said Payne. “I know better than most how it can come to your family, but with God there is always hope.”
Located on the wall in the mammography room in the Outpatient Imaging Center is a beautiful picture that Payne uses to encourage her patients. The print reveals two ladies, in summer dresses standing on a cliff gazing together out into the sea.
“I tell my patients that I picture my mom and me as those women,” said Payne through a tearful smile. “I tell them to take comfort in that print because my mom is a survivor. I want them to know that they are not alone, but that I will stand on the cliff with them and we will face whatever comes our way together.”
The Cancer Center uses a multidisciplinary approach in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancers. Through advanced technology and a highly trained staff, the Center offers exceptional diagnostic and treatment procedures that include radiation, chemotherapy, biotherapy, immunotherapy, prostate brachytherapy and hormonal treatments. Since opening its doors in 1993, the Cancer Center has diagnosed and/or treated 8,316 cancer patients.
In the beginning
The Cancer Center has a rich history, beginning in the late 1980s, when a marketing study conducted by Watauga Medical Center revealed that 25 percent of High Country residents would not feel comfortable leaving the mountain area for care and treatment if faced with cancer. Richard Sparks, then President of Watauga Medical Center, along with his Board of Trustees, believed this feedback offered an opportunity to address a community cancer care need.
“We began gathering data to analyze and assess if it would be possible to support a quality cancer center in the High Country,” said Sparks. “Early on it became apparent that we would have the support of the community.”
Sparks partnered with the former Mayor of Raleigh and High Country enthusiast, Seby B. Jones, to begin the establishment of a cancer center in Boone. In 1992, Jones provided the lead gift to establish and develop a comprehensive cancer treatment program on the campus of Watauga Medical Center. Jones, who loved the mountains and its people, felt strongly that residents should have access to a quality cancer care facility near home. On June 13, 1993, the cancer center was named Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center in his honor.
Dr. Herman Godwin
Good intentions led to good support when Sparks made a cold call for help in 1992 to Dr. Herman Godwin, then medical director of the Blumenthal Cancer Center at Carolinas Medical Center (today it is named the Levine Cancer Institute). Godwin agreed to travel to Boone on a cold evening in November that same year to survey the need and determine how he could help get the Cancer Center up and running.
“After my visit, Richard and I had a hand shake agreement that I would serve as an outreach medical oncologist once a week in Boone at the Cancer Center,” said Godwin with a reminiscing smile. “On January 14, 1993, I began driving up from Charlotte once a week to see patients. I saw four that first day.”
Over the course of the next seven years, Dr. Godwin continued to commute once a week to the High Country to care for patients. Gradually, the decision to stay on the mountain for cancer treatment increased among High Country residents, which led to the decision to hire a full time Medical Oncologist, Dr. Flint Gray, who still practices at the Cancer Center today.
Prior to 1993, there was no substantial cancer care available in the High Country. Today, the SBJCC is a modern facility housing medical oncology, radiation oncology and a newly developed cancer resource center.
“We came from very humble beginnings,” said Godwin. “In 1993, we opened our doors with the capacity to evaluate and treat patients with chemotherapy infusions once a week and to provide radiation treatments five days a week.”
Fortunately, as the number of cancer patients increased, so did the financial commitment of the community to the Cancer Center. In 1997, a new million-dollar vault, with 24-inch concrete walls, was added to accommodate a new state-of-the-art linear accelerator.
Sandi Cassidy, Director of Oncology Services said, “The addition of the new linear accelerator took the Cancer Center from the early 90′s in technology into the 21st century.”
The Cancer Center was accredited in 1997 as a Community Cancer Program by the Commission on Cancer under the guidance of the American College of Surgeons. To maintain the accreditation, the Center adheres to strict regulations and requirements regarding program management, clinical services, continuum of care, patient outcomes and quality of data. Simply translated, the accreditation sets Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center on a level in quality of care with other accredited cancer centers throughout our country.
2003 Infusion Center construction
In 2003, the Center expanded and added a medical oncology unit that included office space, exam rooms and a state of the art infusion center. The infusion center, equipped with 10 chairs and two beds, provides a comfortable environment for patients to rest and receive treatment. Prior to this addition, the Center had only a small number of infusion chairs.
The Cancer Center added Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) in 2008. This unique form of treatment minimizes the risk of radiation damage to healthy tissues by precisely targeting cancerous cells and tissue. The addition of IMRT was among the first of its kind in North Carolina.
“As research and technology advance, many more people are surviving their battle with cancer,” said Cassidy. “We are working diligently to support the patient and his/her family from diagnosis to survivorship.”
| Paul Young, RN
Oncology Nurse Navigator
To provide more emphasis on cancer survivorship care plans, SBJCC, in collaboration with the University of North Carolina Lineberger Cancer Center, established a Nurse Navigator program and appointed Paul Young, RN to the position. Young assists patients and their families from diagnosis to survivorship by providing a guiding hand of support through the entire process.
“If one informs an individual patient that, ‘you have cancer,’ it is enough to make the world literally change for that person,” said Godwin. “At that point, additional information often falls on deaf ears due to the devastating news. Cancer is a complex and intrusive enemy, and it is helpful to have someone like Paul who is able to assist and provide continuous support, not only for the patient, but for the family as well.”
The Cancer Resource Alliance (CRA), an outreach arm of the Cancer Center, was established in 2006 to empower cancer survivors and their loved ones to be active partners in the healing journey. The CRA consists of cancer survivors, community members, Appalachian State University’s Colleges Against Cancer Club, and ARHS healthcare professionals.
The CRA is completely supported by donations.Tax-deductible gifts help ensure that cancer patients and survivors have access to a wide range of enriching and supportive programs and services to facilitate healing. Numerous fundraisers are held throughout the year to help purchase wigs, prosthetic devices, educational materials, and iPads for patients to use while receiving treatment at the infusion center. Funds also help with outreach programs, support groups, the Cancer Patient Emergency Fund and the THRIVE Oncology track at the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center.
The Cancer Patient Emergency Fund provides financial assistance to aid many cancer patients and their families with expenses during treatment – gas for transportation, utility bills, medications and grocery expenses. The fund, originally started and maintained by the Park Foundation, has donated over $328,000 since its inception in 2007.
The FutureSeby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center’s partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Lineberger Cancer Center has allowed for clinical trials, nurse navigation and peer review sessions, via the Telehealth Medicine Education Program, to be shared with the High Country.
“Our physicians now have consulting access to some of the finest doctors in the state of North Carolina through the UNC alliance,” said Cassidy. “Thanks to the Telehealth program, our cases can be discussed and reviewed in Chapel Hill through virtual real time technology, remotely from Boone.”
Cassidy, a big proponent of preventative screenings, predicts a future increase in the discovery of early stage cancer cases through a variety of upcoming and strategically planned free cancer screenings. These screenings will be hosted in conjunction with the Community Outreach Department of ARHS and with the support and oversight of the CRA.
The Cancer Center also has plans to add a High Dose Radiation (HDR) unit in 2015, which will be used, in some specific cases, in place of the linear accelerator. HDR is unique in that it uses a concentrated high dose of radiation during treatment that in turn can greatly reduces the number of treatment days necessary for patients.
“In the future, I believe we will see increasing levels of success in prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment,” said Godwin. “It has been a genuine honor and pleasure for me to be able to serve our High Country community and its patients for almost 20 years.”
For more information about the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center please call 828-262-4332 or visit www.apprhs.org/cancer-center.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) recently received a generous grant from The Broyhill Family Foundation to support the establishment of The Broyhill Rehabilitative Care Neighborhood in the new post-acute care medical facility, Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock.
The Rehabilitative Care Neighborhood will help patients regain their independence by offering post – acute care - such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy in a home-like environment. The neighborhood will be specifically designed as a place for positive recovery for those individuals who are discharged from the hospital and are not ready to return to their own homes.
“We are very grateful for The Broyhill Family Foundation’s ongoing legacy of support for our healthcare system. Their generosity has touched the lives of so many people in our community,” said Robert Hudspeth, Senior Vice President for Advancement at ARHS. “Through the added service lines available at Chestnut Ridge, ARHS will enhance the compassionate, quality patient care already being provided for the people of North Carolina’s High Country.”
The Broyhill Family Foundation, located in Lenoir, N.C., has a rich history of supporting health care in the High Country. Established in 1946, the Foundation has contributed gifts over the years for Watauga Medical Center, Blowing Rock Hospital, Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital, Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center and the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center.
Sheila Triplett-Brady, Executive Director of the Broyhill Family Foundation, said “The Broyhill Family Foundation is very pleased to continue its support of ARHS initiatives. We are glad to partner with an organization that strives to provide top quality healt care to High Country residents.”
The Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation has set a capital campaign goal of $10 million to construct Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock. With the generous grant from The Broyhill Family Foundation, total gift commitments currently exceed $6 million.
For more information about Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock visit http://www.chestnutridgeblowingrock.org/index.php.
In recognition of his leadership and support of healthcare in the High Country, Kenneth Wilcox has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation.
The presentation took place at the Blowing Rock Country Club on September 9, during the Foundation’s annual Pinnacle Society recognition dinner. Wilcox was honored for his instrumental support in the establishment of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) and multiple healthcare services including Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center, The Cardiology Center and Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center.
At the awards presentation, Richard Sparks, President and CEO of ARHS, said “many of the things you see today would not be here without the leadership of Kenneth Wilcox. Kenneth has always been there to listen and help me understand the best way to move forward towards success.”
Reba Mortez, owner of Appalachian Ski Mountain and Joe Miller, owner of Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff also spoke about Wilcox’s impact in the community. Both Mortez and Miller, who serve on the Blowing Rock Hospital Advisory Board and the Foundation Board respectively, gave moving recounts of the many projects, services and initiatives Wilcox has influenced over the years.
Wilcox joins Hugh Fields, Spencer Robbins and John Blackburn as the fourth recipient of the Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
For more information about the Lifetime Achievement Award or the Foundation, call 828-262-4391 or visit www.apprhs.org/foundation.
An Important message from Appalachian Regional Healthcare System to All NC State Employees and Retirees
Watauga Medical Center is “in-network” with the NC State Health Plan.
The NC State Health Plan has introduced some changes this year that may be causing confusion. Even though Watauga Medical Center is not listed as a Blue Options Designated Hospital, this has no bearing on the network status. Again, Watauga Medical Center is in-network with the NC State Health Plan.
Most importantly, Watauga Medical Center is your community hospital to provide NC State Health Plan subscribers with in-network care for you and your family, close to home.
For more information, please contact your organization’s Human Resources office or Watauga Medical Center at email@example.com.
(September 12, 2013) – As part of a long-term strategy, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) announces the transition of Blowing Rock Hospital from a Critical Access Hospital to a post-acute care and rehabilitation center. Effective October 1, 2013, Blowing Rock Hospital will become Blowing Rock Rehabilitation & Davant Extended Care Center. Rehabilitation patients and long-term care residents will continue to receive the highest quality of care.
This transition will require the discontinuation of the Blowing Rock Emergency Department and acute care services of the facility. This change is part of the journey towards the rehabilitation and post-acute care model outlined for the new facility, Chestnut Ridge at Blowing Rock. For area residents and visitors in need of emergency, surgical or acute care, Watauga Medical Center is available, less than 7 miles away, in Boone.
Construction on Chestnut Ridge will begin in the spring of 2014, with an anticipated completion date of late summer 2015. It will be located on a 68-acre tract in Blowing Rock. For more information about Chestnut Ridge, please visit www.chestnutridgeblowingrock.org.
Blowing Rock Medical Clinic, the practice of Dr. Charles Davant, III and Dr. John Davis, will maintain the same level of service and continue to care for patients Monday – Friday 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM, as well as Saturday 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Blowing Rock Medical Clinic is adjacent to the Blowing Rock Rehabilitation & Davant Extended Care Center at 418 Chestnut Drive, Blowing Rock.
For more information about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, visit www.apprhs.org.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is launching a health speaker series in late August. The series entitled, “Health Talk” will feature physicians and medical professionals sharing health information and tips to help make life better for all in the High Country.
The inaugural series of Health Talk events features Appalachian Regional Orthopeadic and Sports Medicine Center and will be offered at the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center and at the Hugh Chapman Center a part of the Williams YMCA of Avery County. Health Talk is free to members and guests of both facilities.
Health Talk – 3 part Orthopaedic Series
Avoiding Shoulder Injuries in an Active Life
Dr. Evan Ekman Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery
August 27, 2013 – 6:30 pm – Wellness Center Classroom
September 19, 2013 – 6:30 pm – Hugh Chapman Center, Avery YMCA
Running Injuries & Prevention
Dr. Gavin Vaughn Board Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
September 10, 2013 – 6:30 pm – Wellness Center Classroom
September 12, 2013 – 6:30 pm – Hugh Chapman Center, Avery YMCA
Knee Injuries & Rehabilitation
Dr. Bill DeVault Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery
October 16, 2013 – 6:30 pm – Wellness Center Classroom
October 17, 2013 – 6:30 pm – Hugh Chapman Center, Avery YMCA
Located in Boone, Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Center provides surgical and non-surgical treatment options for problems that develop in the bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Our Board Certified doctors are dedicated to providing world-class care in the High Country. Drs., DeVault, Ekman and Vaughn look forward to meeting you and working as your healthcare partner to make life better.
For more information about Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center, call 828-386-BONE or visit www.apprhs.org/orthopaedics.
There will be a head and neck cancer screening on Saturday, August 24, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., at Laurel Springs Baptist Church, 7504 U.S. 421 Deep Gap, NC 28618. This event is free and open to the public.
The screening, hosted by the community outreach department of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS), will take place during the Appalachian Senior Programs Fundraiser and Health fair. The fair will include a car show, silent auction, motorcycle ride and lunch.
The head and neck screening is an education event, held in collaboration with the Seby B. Jones Cancer Center. It will provide free exams and educational materials to individuals who would like more information about this form of cancer.
Every year, approximately 80,000 Americans are diagnosed with head and neck cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. A few of these cancers include thyroid, throat, lips, mouth and the nasal cavity.
Early detection of head and neck cancers can greatly improve the outcomes of patients. It is important to be aware of risk factors for this disease.
Candy Jones, RN, the Community Outreach nurse at ARHS stated, “Personally, my father’s best friend died at a young age from throat cancer because it was not detected early enough. I cannot stress how important it is to take a few minutes and participate in this free screening.”
The head and neck cancer screening exams are painless and only take a few minutes to complete. The exam itself will be conducted by Melinda Lada M.D., a family practice physician at Appalachian Regional Adult and Family Medicine. Participants will have their mouth and throat inspected along with the neck in search for abnormalities.
In addition to the exam, participants may participate in blood pressure and body fat checks as well as discounted lab work from 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. To schedule a blood work appointment contact Debbie Wellborn at Appalachian Senior Programs at 336-846-4898. ARHS will also provide information regarding its services including cancer prevention, therapy and rehabilitation.
For more information about the Head & Neck Cancer Screening, call Candy Jones at 828-268-8960. If you’d like information about Seby B. Jones Cancer Center, part of ARHS, please call 828-262-4332 or visit www.apprhs.org/cancer-center.