Visitors to Good Samaritan Hospice enjoy refreshments. Emily Flora SWoCo
Good Samaritan Hospice held its open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Jan. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Despite the fear of snow and ice that threatened the Roanoke Valley, people came out to enjoy lots of good food, good company, and get tours of the new Good Samaritan Hospice building located at 2408 Electric Road.
The open house marked the new location of Good Samaritan Hospice, which has nearly doubled in size compared to the previous location to provide more space for a growing mission to offer compassionate care to patients facing the end of life and families coming to terms with losing a loved one.
At 10,000 square feet, the new office features more training rooms, additional meeting and office space and plenty of natural light.
Chaplain of Good Samaritan Hospice Marvin Barbre said that they are thankful for the new space. “It’s taken us a while to get used to it. We got used to tripping over each other. The space has given us the opportunity to work better as a team and invited people into our space. It has given us an emotional lift, a sense of achievement for the future. It’s hard to imagine how we functioned in that space now that we are here.”
Good Samaritan Hospice is the only community-based, not-for-profit hospice serving the Roanoke and New River valleys. Good Samaritan provides a holistic approach to health care that provides hospice and grief support to patients, families and community members regardless of ability to pay.
Executive director Sue Ranson (right) speaking to crowd at ribbon-cutting with Dr. William Fintel (medical director) and Kandy Elliott (left), chair of the Good Sam board of directors. Courtesy of Thomas Becher
Executive Director of Good Samaritan Sue Ranson said that they strategic plan to move into a bigger space began about four or five years ago.
“Space was a big issue,” she said. “And we found it here. I’m very grateful for the visibility so that the community can see us. The building helps us to be who we are but it’s not who we are. Our volunteers who are by our patients ‘ bedside is who we are.”
Hospice volunteer for seven and a half years, Bob Schuermann attended the open house and ribbon cutting and said, “Hospice helps people who are near death. I work mainly in the office. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I wish I could do it 7.5 more. Since I have been volunteering this office has double in size of staff.”
Hospice is a philosophy of care for individuals with an incurable or life-limiting illness whether they live at home, in a nursing or assisted living facility. It is a program that focuses on the quality of life and is most beneficial during the last six months of life. Hospice is a family-oriented program that empowers families and friends to care for their loved one in their home or through the help of staff at a nursing or assisted living facility.
Originally started in the 1970s to care for patients with cancer, today hospice patients have other life-limiting conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, lung disease, HIV or neurological diseases such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
“It’s a needed thing in the community. It’s one of those things that people don’t know what it is or what it does,” Schuermann said.
Hospice offers physician direct care, nursing services (24-hour on-call nursing), home health aides, special therapies (PT, OT, nutrition, speech), medical equipment and supplies, skilled nursing visits, unskilled nursing visits, counseling and support by social workers, care for non-home bound patients, hospice-related medications, five-day respite care, hospitalizations for symptom control, continuous care at home, spiritual counseling, trained patient and family support volunteers, and bereavement services for family.
They also offer other programs like Stepping Stones, a monthly support group for children who have suffered the loss of a parent or guardian. They also offer education programs to assisted living communities, churches, synagogues, houses of worship and faith groups, civic organizations and clubs, hospitals and medical clinics, human services agencies, and nursing facilities.
Chaplin Barbre will have been working with Good Samaritan Hospice for 10 years this May. Prior to working in the Roanoke Valley he was Hospice Director of Spiritual Care in the Piedmont for five years and a pastor of a church for 17 years.
“When we admit a patient part of what we are mandated to do is ask them if they have a faith community. I offer their priest, minister, or faith community to call us about care, goals, objectives. What I have found in my experience here is that most people don’t have a faith community,” Barbre said.
“As a Chaplain, I’m concerned about values in things they feel, or things that have had meaning in their life and what they want when they die. And to use their values and what is meaninful to them to allow them a peaceful death.”
Barbre conducts funerals, memorial services, baptisms, communions, and also works with the staff in dealing with the death of their patients and reconnecting.
Barbre helped start a program called “Memory Catchers” that allows a recording to capture patients’ memories on CD, creating an “audio scrapbook” of memories, stories, thoughts, and feelings that can be treasured by family and friends for years to come.
“Life review is an easier, acceptable way to view death,” he said. “I think it is so important for generations to know whose shoulders they are standing on and it’s based on the same aspect of how important it is to share your story.”
“I think it’s helped me to realize that there are a lot of lost souls and family members are taking care of them who haven’t been supported. It’s helped me to understand that people matter until they die. The better we take care of them before we discard them, the better we take care of ourselves.”
Contact Good Samaritan Hospice at (540) 776-0198 or visit their website at www.goodsamhospice.org.
For more photos from the Open House, check out our gallery here.