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My Turn, Linda Darden: Hospice care business has grown to meet community needs

By Linda Darden

Darden

Since our inception in 1979, Trellis Supportive Care (formerly Hospice & Palliative CareCenter) has grown to meet community needs and has benefited from generous supporters and advocates.

In a year that has seen more than its share of challenges, we have experienced extraordinary community support and our team has been unwavering in our commitment to provide care everyday to nearly 575 patients and families throughout our region. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we adopted the motto “COVID can’t stop compassion.”

Under the direction of Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Lalor we assembled a COVID Response Team (CRT) to navigate our organization through these challenging times. At the forefront of every decision we make is the safety of our patients, families, staff and community. It has been inspiring to witness frontline healthcare heroes across the globe and I’m extremely proud of our very own clinical care teams for embracing the necessary changes, donning the personal protective equipment and finding every way possible to provide meaningful and effective ways to provide care and connect with those we serve.

As the leader of this organization, what has been most heartwarming is seeing the sincere desire among our entire team under any and all circumstances to improve the quality of life for those we serve.

November is National Hospice & Palliative Care Month — a time when hospices across the country join together to raise awareness about the highest quality care provided for all people facing the physical and emotional challenges of an advanced illness. As we observe this month, I can’t help but reflect on the additional burdens that our patients and families have experienced due to the pandemic. In many cases, family members are unable to be present with an ailing loved one either due to health care facility visitation limitations or travel restrictions. Those who are grieving the loss of a loved one may feel the additional strain of anxiety and may not be able to fully honor their loved one with normal rituals and memorial services. To state the obvious, loss is always heartbreaking, but it’s magnified in the midst of a pandemic.

With compassion driving us, our goal remains: to bring comfort and peace of mind to both patients and families.

While nothing replaces a hug, we are utilizing new ways of connecting, virtually, helping families stay in close contact and present with their loved ones. Our team, masked and gowned, continue to provide our patients with comfort and personal care. And we have created supportive resources available on our website to help all people navigate the stresses and feelings of anxiety and isolation.

Linda Darden is president and CEO of Trellis Supportive Care, which services Salisbury and Rowan County. For more information, visit trellissupport.org.

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