Sojourn Center for Hospice Care is working to identify partners for opening a medical hospice inpatient center in a home-like environment where terminally ill patients in the New River and Roanoke valleys can spend their last days in comfort and dignity while still being close to their families.
As Blacksburg and the surrounding communities have become increasingly popular as retirement venues, the need for an inpatient hospice house staffed by medical experts in end-of-life care has become more urgent.
Virginia lags far behind neighboring states in providing this essential end-of-life care option for those whose families cannot care for their love ones at home. North Carolina has 41 in-patient hospice houses while Virginia has only 10 – none in Western Virginia.
The Sojourn Center Board has made considerable progress. The center now has a 27-acre site donated by Roger Woody located between Warm Hearth Village and LewisGale Hospital Montgomery adjacent to the Huckleberry Trail in Blacksburg and is working with a nationally recognized hospice house architect.
A capital development firm has also been identified for advice about a future capital campaign.
To move ahead, the Sojourn Center must recruit a hospice agency to clinically operate the hospice house. It has had serious discussions with two regional hospice agencies but neither is currently in a financial position to support the project.
The board has also had preliminary discussions with a North Carolina based hospice agency which provides hospice services in Virginia—as near as Floyd and Pulaski counties and has two hospice houses in North Carolina.
What is certain is that most Americans would like to die at home—in a comfortable and familiar place—not in a hospital or a nursing home. But only 25% do. When a terminally ill patient requires acute medical care that cannot be provided in the home or a nursing home, hospitalization is the only existing choice in the New River Valley.
Sojourn Center is determined, with support from the community, to change that reality.
“We believe everyone deserves exceptional end-of-life care that provides comfort, support, and dignity. Sojourn Center will honor, celebrate, and lovingly support a person’s final passage. Leaving a legacy of peace and comfort is a gift to those left behind,” said board president, Anne Campbell.
The Sojourn Center house will provide patients with private, home-like rooms with enclosed outdoor patios, round-the-clock nursing, individualized care plans, relief from pain and suffering, continuing palliative care, daily visits from a patient’s hospice provider and family support programs. Dedicated volunteers will serve patients, assist with center operations, and help with family support.
The hospice home will also include a meditation/chapel area, a family living room, spaces for private conversation or meditation, a kitchen and dining area for families, and outdoor patios and gardens for patients and their families. No other setting in the New River or Roanoke valleys provides such acute end-of-life care as well as a peaceful environment for the “work” of preparing for death.