The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sunday Profile

June 15, 2014

‘It’s a dream come true’

Peyton Hospice House ready to open in Fairlea

Fairlea — From the professional landscaping that surrounds the pillared portico to the warm fireplace that serves as a focal point in the lofty great room, very few features of the region’s newest health care facility appear in the least institutional.

In HospiceCare literature, the eight-bedroom Peyton Hospice House is billed as “your home away from home in the Greenbrier Valley,” a message that the agency’s staffers readily reinforce.

“All of the bedrooms are different,” noted Miss VanBuren, HospiceCare’s public relations and marketing coordinator. “The sofas pull out into twin beds so family members can stay with their loved one, and patients can bring items from home to keep their surroundings familiar and comfortable. We want them to feel at home here.”

Adding to the homey atmosphere in the bedrooms are ceiling fans, soft earth-toned decor, individual temperature controls and flat-screen TVs. Each private bedroom suite has its own bathroom featuring oversized shower stalls constructed flush with the floor for ease of access.

Each room has a hospital bed for the patient, and some of those beds are wider than standard size to comfortably accommodate larger patients.

Some features, such as a privacy fence, gazebo, birdbaths and other garden accessories, are yet to be installed, but VanBuren emphasized that HospiceCare is still accepting donations from individuals, businesses and organizations interested in sponsoring anything from a room to dishes for the kitchen.

That kitchen is located in the house’s great room, an expansive space that includes several cozy seating areas, one of which centers on a large-screen TV, and another that takes full advantage of both the fireplace and the garden view beyond.

“This room is open to all family members,” VanBuren explained during a tour of the Hospice House. “They can cook in the kitchen and keep food here or in the small refrigerators in each of the patients’ rooms.”

In addition to a well-appointed kitchen and dining space, the great room offers Wi-Fi access. A small adjacent room will soon be furnished as a children’s play area, thanks to a donation from BB&T, VanBuren said.

Looking ahead, she said that both the Hospice House’s great room and the reception area in HospiceCare’s nearby office building will display Love Light Trees during the holiday season, encouraging potential donors to visit. VanBuren said by including such touches as Christmas trees, the Hospice complex will take on a more home-like feeling.

“We want this to be a home away from home — comfortable for patients and their families,” she said. “It’s a dream come true.”

- - -

HospiceCare administrator Tanyia Montie said the greatest benefit arising from this inpatient facility — the first of its type in the Greenbrier Valley — will come from the lessening of stress for the families of Hospice clients.

“It’s going to afford families more time to be with their loved one and have less stress in how to care for them,” Montie said. “In the home, the family has constant worry about administering medications and whether the care they’re providing is correct or adequate. That uncertainty just wears them down.”

She said the aging population in the local region provided a great incentive for construction of the Peyton Hospice House.

“With so many elderly couples, one spouse is left caring for the other because there is no other, younger family member living close enough to help,” Montie said. “So you can have a 90-year-old person trying to take care of a 93-year-old spouse. Imagine how hard that is. This (facility) will ease that up. This will be a short-term facility, but it meets a need.”

When it opens toward the end of this month, the Hospice House in Fairlea will serve clients who fall into three major categories:

n Patients who require more intensive, skilled medical care than can be provided in their home or primary place of residence.

n Patients who require respite care to give their family a short rest (up to five days every 30 days) from providing care at home.

n Patients who require short-term care during transition to a more stable care giving environment.

Peyton Hospice House will be staffed round-the-clock with both registered nurses and certified nursing assistants (CNAs), with total paid staff numbering around 20 by the time the facility begins accepting patients.

“We also need volunteers,” Montie noted, adding that those volunteers have to go through a training program before starting to work with patients and families.

As she prepares to step into a new role as administrator and nurse practitioner at Peyton Hospice House, while still retaining her responsibilities with HospiceCare, Montie said she has seen many changes in attitudes about hospice programs over the years.

“I’ve seen a huge, huge turn-around in the last 15 years since I’ve been here,” Montie said. “Doctors recognize the need for the services we provide. It’s a big, big switch in attitude.

“We’re getting more cooperation with nursing homes now, as well. It’s changing slowly but surely.”

Montie said she believes education is the key to the greater acceptance of the end-of-life and palliative care that hospice offers.

“We’ve been educating the community to understand what we do and why, and medical personnel are more educated in end-of-life care. They didn’t used to study that at all.”

As VanBuren had earlier, Montie emphasized the continuing need for donations to help pay down the debt that was incurred in the construction of the $2 million-plus Peyton Hospice House — named in memory of the late James Peyton.

HospiceCare’s Fairlea office serves the counties of Greenbrier, Summers, Monroe, Pocahontas and Fayette.

For more information, call 304-645-2700 or 800-237-0842.

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