News

 

AMOREM Named Watauga County's Large Business of the Year  

(Published January 2023)

AMOREM, formerly Burke Hospice and Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, was named Large Business of the Year at the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce annual luncheon.

Nominations were submitted by community members, with winners selected by the Chamber’s Business Development committee. Organizations were awarded based on criteria that included staying power, growth in sales and/or workforce, innovative products and services, strong response to adversity, contributions to community-oriented projects and use of local resources in business operations.

“AMOREM is very honored to be named Large Business of the Year by the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce,” says Carol Smith, vice president of the High Country service area. “We strive to deliver the best care possible in a holistic manner with a team of highly trained professionals.”

AMOREM has provided end-of-life care and support in the High Country for nine years through homecare hospice services, community and inpatient palliative care at Appalachian Regional HealthCare System. In the nine years of service in the High Country, AMOREM has had the privilege to serve more than 1,200 residents in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. All AMOREM staff serving the High Country live in the communities served.

In 2022, AMOREM constructed a palliative care center on Moonstruck Lane in Boone to provide its highly trained professionals with a permanent workspace, keeping them close to High Country patients and their families. The palliative care center is a hub for clinical and palliative care staff and features a community meeting room that can be rented at a low cost to other community organizations and teams.

AMOREM is in the public phase of a capital campaign to bring a patient care unit to the High Country. Currently, patients and families must drive an hour or more to the closest patient care unit, interfering with those precious moments that families and patients should be able to spend with one another. More than $4.7 million has been raised toward the organization’s $8 million goal, through corporate gifts and private donors in the High Country.

”We appreciate the support that we continue to receive from the High Country community.” Smith says.

The 8,460-square foot patient care unit will have seven beds with a full-time local staff dedicated to providing compassionate end-of-life care for residents of Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

AMOREM is honored for the opportunity to provide quality, thoughtful and loving care to the High Country and will continue to grow its mission of quality, compassion and support in the area.

To learn more about AMOREM services or the High Country capital campaign, visit www.amoremsupport.org or call 828.754.0101

 

AMOREM Launches Public Phase of $8M Capital Campaign 

(Published January 2023)

AMOREM, formerly Burke Hospice and Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, is rolling out the public phase of an $8 million capital campaign to build a patient care unit in the High Country. The organization has served the High Country for nine years through homecare and inpatient palliative medicine at Watauga Medical Center.

The hospice and palliative care organization has already raised $4.6 million towards the capital campaign through corporate and private donations. Donors include Watauga County, Ashe County, Blue Ridge Energy, ECR Software Corporation, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, SkyLine/SkyBest and a $1.5M donation from the SECU Foundation. Several private donors also have contributed to the $4.6 million raised.

“For four decades we have been committed to serving the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients and those that they love,” says CEO, Cathy Swanson. “Seeing a growing need for a patient care unit in the High Country, the state approved our request for a Certificate of Need to build a seven-bed patient care unit.”

The High Country requested that AMOREM build a patient care unit in their community because, without one, patients and their families must drive one to two hours to reach the closest patient care unit, taking away precious time that could be spent with loved ones. AMOREM’s Legacy Caldwell opened the first hospice patient care unit in the state in 1989, granting them the most experience in hospice in-patient care in North Carolina.

“Our family didn’t know the impact that a hospice patient care unit could have on our lives until the need for one suddenly arose in 2019,” says Capital Campaign Co-chairperson, Evalyn Pierce. “Our father was thankful for the compassion and support shown not only to him, but to our family. This inspired our effort to bring a patient care unit to the High Country in his memory.”

The 8,460-square foot patient care unit will have seven beds with a full-time local staff dedicated to providing compassionate end-of-life care for residents of Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. The home-like environment will provide large patient rooms and comfortable family areas in a peaceful setting just off Archie Carroll Road on Moonstruck Lane in Boone.

“Over the past several months a group of concerned individuals has partnered with AMOREM to bring a state-of-the-art patient care unit to the High Country,” says Capital Campaign Co-chairperson, Anne-Marie Yates. “We’ve now come to the most important phase of enhancing hospice care in our area- fundraising. Please give prayerful consideration as you review the giving opportunities for the High Country Capital Campaign.”

There are still several named gift opportunities available for donors including reception areas, covered entries and other opportunities. Contact Kerri McFalls, vice president of community engagement, at 828.754.0101 or kmcfalls@amoremsupport.org to learn more about named gift opportunities.

AMOREM is a community owned, non-profit provider. Your tax-deductible gift will bring more quality, more compassion and more support to the High Country. To learn more about the High Country Capital Campaign, visit www.amoremsupport.org or call 828.754.0101 and remember that your gift is an act of love.

AMOREM Team Receives Six Awards at Charleston Conference 

(Published December 2022)

LENOIR - AMOREM’s Public Relations Coordinator, Lisa Caviness, and Marketing Specialist, Molly Fitzgerald, attended the Carolinas Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society 2022 Resilience Reset Conference to receive six awards for their Community Engagement Team's marketing efforts. CHPRMS members compete in more than a dozen categories and a panel of marketing communications professionals from other states chooses the winners.

AMOREM’s public relations and marketing team plays a key role in providing information and education to patients, families and the communities served.

“We work very hard to ensure that the communities we serve have all of the information and resources that they may need,” says Fitzgerald. “We are honored to have received six awards for the work that our team has done over the last year. This kind of recognition reminds us that our communities are receiving the resources and education that they need from us and that they are interacting positively with the information that we provide.”

The team was awarded four Golden Wallies for the organization’s website, logo, capital campaign case statement and care ad series. The team also received two Golden Tusk awards for their jobs campaign and their capital campaign.

“Our team is excited and humbled by the recognition from our peers in healthcare marketing throughout the Carolinas,” says Caviness. “It is truly an honor to promote the excellence delivered by the entire AMOREM team.”

During the conference, Caviness and Fitzgerald participated in breakout sessions and workshops provided by industry leading key-note speakers at the CHPRMS conference.

“We left the conference with so many new ideas and techniques that we are excited to begin working with,” says Fitzgerald. “We will continue to deliver the best information and resources to our communities and are thankful for the knowledge gained and the support from our leaders who made our attendance possible.” 

Other AMOREM staff who contributed to the award-winning projects include April Moore, vice president of business services and Kerri L. McFalls, vice president of community engagement. Outside consultants that contributed include NickGreene.com, MESH Design, VanNoppen Marketing and Teleios Collaborative Network. 

 

AMOREM's Valdese Patient Care Unit Reopening

(Published December 2022)

VALDESE- AMOREM’s Valdese Patient Care Unit will reopen on December 3, 2022.

“I am honored to help announce the reopening of the Valdese Patient Care Unit,” says AMOREM Board of Directors Chairperson, Jordan Greene. “The compassionate care that patients, families and loved ones have been accustomed to receiving in the Valdese Patient Care Unit has always been one of the organization's most important endeavors. As AMOREM continues to work through staffing shortages, the goal of reopening all facilities was never lost.”

The Valdese Patient Care Unit suspended operations in December of 2021 due to staffing shortages. To ensure the care provided to patients and families outside of the patient care units was not jeopardized, the organization chose to consolidate its patient care unit efforts into one, 12-bed, unit located in Hudson. AMOREM chose to keep this location open because it is the most centrally located within the organization’s 12-county service area. The Valdese campus, including administrative and outreach offices, remained open and home care remained active.

“The national healthcare staffing shortage has been challenging so we are especially grateful to have hired and trained the needed staff to reopen the Valdese Patient Care Unit,” says AMOREM CEO, Cathy Swanson. “Although residents of Burke and nearby counties have received hospice inpatient care at our facility in Hudson, it is always best for patients and their family members to be close to home.”

During 2021, AMOREM made a capital investment to upgrade its Valdese campus, including the computer infrastructure and facility repairs. Updates will continue as the unit opens and begins to accept patients.

“The Board of Directors are extremely proud of all our staff as they have worked tirelessly to provide outstanding care through this unconventional time. The future of AMOREM is bright and I am proud to be part of this exemplary organization,” says Greene.

If you would like more information about AMOREM services or would like to make a referral, please call 828.754.0101 or visit www.amoremsupport.org.

 

AMOREM Board of Directors

(Published November 2022)

LENOIR – The AMOREM Board of Directors recently approved a slate of new officers to its executive committee.

The new officer appointments include Jordan Greene as the newly elected chairman, Dr. Gregory Jones, vice chairman, Peg Broyhill, secretary, and Rob Hinman as treasurer. Both Greene and Jones reside in Burke County and Broyhill and Hinman are Caldwell County residents.

In May of 2021, with a desire to maintain local, community-based hospice care, Burke Hospice and Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care integrated to form AMOREM. Members of the two separate boards that represented each legacy organization formed the AMOREM Board of Directors.

At the time of the integration, Marc Carpenter, who served as the board chairperson for Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, was named the first chairperson of the AMOREM Board of Directors.  Carpenter served on the Caldwell board for more than 30 years, with the last nine of those as the board chairperson.

“I have had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors at AMOREM for over 30 years including for the last nine years as Chairperson,” Carpenter said. “I consider my time spent on the AMOREM, and previously the Caldwell Hospice Board, as one of the highest honors of my life. Working with the other dedicated board members and the outstanding AMOREM CEO and staff has been very rewarding and educational. I am so proud of the excellent level of care provided by the AMOREM staff and the incredibly positive reputation the organization has earned in the communities we serve. Further, I am excited to continue to serve on the Board with the current slate of officers who I think will assist in leading AMOREM to greater expansion of services in the future.”

Greene, who served on the legacy Burke’s board of directors, honored Carpenter at a recent board meeting for his many years of service and dedication to the organization.

“I am honored to be selected as the Board Chairman for AMOREM,” Greene says. “I want to thank Marc for his past and continued commitment and dedication to the organization. I am excited to assist our incredible staff and board members through the ever-changing healthcare landscape. Our goals of the highest quality patient support will continue to be the primary focus while we grow through our service areas.” 

For more information about AMOREM or to make a hospice or palliative medicine referral, please visit www.amoremsupport.org or call 878.754.0101.

 

AMOREM Welcomes Jeri Ward as Director of Growth

(Published November 2022)

VALDESE- Former AMOREM Outreach Specialist, Jeri Ward, steps into director of growth position.

“We are thrilled to see Jeri step into the director of growth role,” says Vice President of Community Engagement, Kerri McFalls. “Jeri’s passion for end-of-life care is evident in her dedication to AMOREM’s mission and the communities we serve. I feel confident that she will help grow our organization and the reach we have within our communities.”

Ward began her journey with AMOREM as an outreach specialist in the summer of 2022. Prior to joining AMOREM, Ward was a hospital donation specialist with Life Connection of Ohio. The end-of-life specialist is also the founder and executive director of Stroke of Luck, which provides education and advocacy for stroke survivors, their families and the general public.

“I could not be more thrilled to accept this position,” says Ward. “AMOREM’s mission and values align with my own personal beliefs towards end-of-life care, and I am humbled to serve in this capacity.”

Ward’s position at AMOREM involves providing consistent leadership, direction and accountability to outreach specialists, strategic planning to ensure organizational growth goals are met and setting developmental goals for the growth team members. Along with her role as director of growth, Ward spends days off volunteering for AMOREM with the hope to create a space in which she can be a light to others and help them die with dignity.

“I am committed to growing AMOREM and our partner collaborations to allow more families to experience death with grace and compassion and to make their final moments dignified.”

 

AMOREM Nurses Define Acts of Love

(Published November 2022)

When Burke Hospice and Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care merged in the spring of 2021, they chose to rename the hospice and palliative care organization, ‘AMOREM’.

The Latin word AMOREM translates in the English language to “the act of love”. The name AMOREM is a direct representation of the organization’s mission to provide quality, thoughtful, loving care to patients, support to their families and to offer education and grief support to the communities served.

“AMOREM is a team and each person’s role within the organization is an integral part of providing exceptional care to our patients and their families,” says Amber Smith, RNCC, “My act of love is kindness. If you have a kind heart and enjoy a team approach to care, AMOREM is the place for you.”

Maintaining a kind heart assists in fostering the AMOREM culture of trust and allows each situation to be responded to in an ethical manner. The combination of utilizing a team approach to care and holding space for kindness ensures that AMOREM can make every effort to exceed the expectations of those who the organization serves; including patients, families, referral sources and communities.

“This is a different type of nursing,” says Kelley Chapman, RNCC, “I spent my whole nursing career making patients better and, in this job, you are spending all of your time making patients comfortable and preparing them for death. It is still so rewarding. Just being able to be there for patients and families during such vulnerable times and moments makes this job and your profession as a nurse meaningful and worthwhile.”

A nursing career with AMOREM allows for a personable environment with patients and their families in a home setting- wherever they may call home. It allows nurses to build a rapport with patients and families by meeting them where they are.

Chapman says, “I know, for the most part, we are not with these patients for long and that is more reason to form a relationship and meet them where they are. The main goal is to provide comfort and understanding of the transition from life to death. My act of love is caring for my patients and knowing that I have brought ease to their lives.”

If you are a nurse who wishes to transform the way that people view and experience serious illness and end-of-life and who wishes to foster a culture of compassionate, innovative care, visit www.amoremsupport.org/careers to define your act of love today.

 

AMOREM's Veteran Voices

(Published November 2022)

This Veterans Day, and every day at AMOREM, team members are committed to honor those who made the ultimate and selfless sacrifice to defend our freedom. AMOREM teams work diligently to ensure that the organization remains a sanctuary where veterans can access the care, resources and support they deserve.

This year, AMOREM’s Community Engagement Team has launched Veteran Voices; a series of podcasts that introduce stories from veteran patients, volunteers, staff and family members within the AMOREM community. Today, six stories are available for listening. A new story will be added to AMOREM’s YouTube channel each month for a year as we continue to honor the veterans that we have the privilege to know.

“The goal of these podcasts is to provide veterans and their families with a platform on which they can share their stories,” says AMOREM Marketing Specialist, Molly Fitzgerald. “As a community we can listen to these stories to honor and commemorate the veterans who are in our own communities. We have archived the voices of our veterans so that they may always be honored and never be forgotten.”

Veteran Voices allows the military community and public to share a vulnerable and open space with one another. It provides room for laughter, tears and above all- empathy for those who have nobly served our country, as few honestly understand the complexities of our veterans’ service.

AMOREM gratefully recognizes the sacrifices that our veterans have made in defense of freedom. Honoring our nation’s veterans includes supporting them throughout their entire lives, especially at the end of life. AMOREM makes an effort to provide volunteers who are veterans to hospice patients who also have served our country. This brings a special perspective that helps relate to the end-of-life needs that are unique to veterans. AMOREM addresses these needs through its We Honor Veterans program offering individualized support for veterans who are taken under its care.

“Our veterans mean so much to us. Join us today in taking the time to listen and learn through our Veteran Voices project,” says Fitzgerald. “Thank you, veterans. We love you and we are so glad that you are here with us today.”

If you are a veteran interested in supporting other veterans through our Veterans Honoring Veterans program, visit www.amoremsupport.org/volunteer or contact Cyndi Akins, Megan Parillo, Lorie Fidler or Crystal Burch at 828.754.0101.

To listen to AMOREM’s Veteran Voices podcasts visit AMOREM’s YouTube channel.

 

AMOREM Voted Best Hospice of Burke and Caldwell County

(Published October 2022)

AMOREM, formerly Burke Hospice and Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, was voted Best Hospice in the Best of Burke County survey and the Best of Caldwell County survey.

 “We are honored to provide excellent serious illness and end-of-life care to the residents of the Caldwell and Burke service areas for more than 40 years. We began as your community-owned, nonprofit, provider and remain the same today. Thank you for voting AMOREM, formerly Burke Hospice and Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, as the BEST,” says AMOREM CEO, Cathy Swanson.

AMOREM has provided quality, thoughtful, loving care to patients and support to their families in the Burke and Caldwell service areas with the commitment to serve the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and families.

“We take great pride in providing compassionate care and quality services to those in our communities. Our team recognizes the beauty of each individual’s journey and the privilege it is to walk alongside our patients and their families. It is an honor to support the citizens of our communities during such a sacred time,” says Vice President of the Burke Service Area, Laura Anderson.

AMOREM honorably serves Burke and Caldwell communities, transforms the way that people view and experience serious illness and end-of-life and fosters a culture of compassionate, innovative care. AMOREM is grateful to the Burke and Caldwell communities for voting the organization as the best hospice provider in both counties.

To learn more about AMOREM or to make a hospice or palliative care referral, visit www.amoremsupport.org or call 828-754-0101.

 

AMOREM's Thrifts & Gifts Store Remains at Valdese Location

(Published October 2022)

VALDESE­- AMOREM’s Valdese-based thrift store will remain at its current location on Main Street for another year.

“The thrift store is a valuable asset to AMOREM,” says April Moore, vice president of business services. “Money raised from its sales help to support the delivery of excellent patient care, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.”

AMOREM, formerly Burke Hospice and Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, is the premier local non-profit hospice and palliative organization to serve the area. Sales from Thrifts & Gifts support AMOREM’s mission to provide quality, thoughtful, loving care to patients and support to their families as well as offering education and grief support to communities served.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to remain in our Valdese location for one more year,” says Moore. “We love being a part of the community and appreciate the support.”  

AMOREM is still seeking a new location for Thrifts & Gifts. Moore said the ideal location would be a building that has high visibility, four to six thousand square feet with a loading dock and store front windows. While Thrifts & Gifts has been successful in its current Valdese location, Moore said AMOREM is open to other areas within Burke County.

 If anyone knows of a great location and has a heart for hospice, contact Vice President of Business Services, April Moore, at amoore@amoremsupport.org.

For more information on AMOREM visit www.amoremsupport.org.

 

AMOREM Receives $50K Matching Grant from HCCF

(Published October 2022)

BANNER ELK - AMOREM, formerly Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care and Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, receives a $50k matching grant from the High Country Charitable Foundation.

The HCCF was the first to make a pledge last fall towards AMOREM’s capital campaign to build a patient care unit in the High Country. Through different named opportunities for Avery County families and individuals, along with general contributions to the campaign, the match was made.

“We appreciate the foundation’s support in being the first to take the step towards the completion of this important project,” says Vice President of Community Engagement Kerri McFalls “The impact of the foundation’s gift will live on for many years as patients and families utilize the patient care unit on Moonstruck Lane in Boone.,”

The HCCF is committed to raising funds, along with donating time and talent to meet the needs of their neighbors. The foundation operates with integrity and transparency with the goal of generating the biggest impact for the community.

HCCF states, “We can all make a difference, and there are so many ways. We need to keep our eyes open for the opportunities put in front of us, no matter how small, and accept every chance that we have to do something good.”

AMOREM has raised more than $4.3 million towards its High Country capital campaign. The new patient care unit will have seven beds with a full-time local staff dedicated to providing compassionate end-of-life care for residents of Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties.

Director of Development Jake Benfield expresses, “It is overwhelming to see the impact that our community has had on this meaningful campaign. We are honored by the support that we are receiving toward our capital campaign.”

AMOREM Welcomes Director of Development, Jake Benfield

(Published September 2022)

VALDESE – AMOREM welcomes Jake Benfield as its new director of development.

“We are thrilled to have Jake join AMOREM,” said Kerri McFalls, vice president of community engagement for AMOREM. “Jake recently completed his internship with AMOREM as a student with Appalachian State University. We knew right away that we wanted to retain him. He brings energy, enthusiasm and passion for AMOREM’s mission. Jake is a valuable resource not only to AMOREM but to those that we serve.”

Benfield spent the summer of 2022 interning for AMOREM CEO, Cathy Swanson. In the fall, he returned to the High Country to complete his degree in Health Care Management at ASU.

 In his development role, Benfield will be a part of AMOREM’s Community Engagement Team. He will oversee all aspects of fundraising and grant writing for AMOREM, McFalls said.

“After working alongside the Senior Leadership Team in the summer, I was highly impressed with AMOREM’s Community Engagement Team and its fundraising efforts,” Benfield said. “I accepted this opportunity without hesitation.”

Benfield knew that he wanted to further his professional development with AMOREM where he could provide the same quality, compassion and support to his community that AMOREM provided to his very own grandparents.

  “Jake already plays a big role in AMOREM’s fundraising efforts,” McFalls said. “We are currently in the middle of a capital campaign to build a patient care unit in Boone. With Jake’s help, we have raised more than $4.3 million toward our $8 million goal.”

Benfield extends his gratitude to Cathy Swanson, the Community Engagement Team and the families who entrust AMOREM with their loved one’s care.

If you are interested in learning more about AMOREM services, events and news, visit www.amoremsupport.org.

AMOREM Welcomes Marketing Specialist, Molly Fitzgerald

(Published September 2022)

VALDESE- AMOREM, formerly Burke Hospice and Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, welcomes marketing specialist, Molly Fitzgerald, to its community engagement team.

“I had been seeking a team that supported professional growth, creative collaboration and who really stood behind their mission,” says Fitzgerald. “I knew that I had found exactly that when I met the community engagement team at AMOREM.”

In May of 2020, Fitzgerald received her B.A. in Communications with a focus in Journalism and a minor in Creative Writing from High Point University. Fitzgerald has a passion for multimedia storytelling and has hit the ground running to share AMOREM stories with the community.

“Molly is a breath of fresh air and a valuable addition to AMOREM’s community engagement team,” says Vice President of Community Engagement Kerri McFalls. “Driven by her passion to share the stories of AMOREM’s excellent care, she has already implemented several new, innovative marketing programs and initiatives. Her creative skills and talents couple well with our department, and we feel fortunate to have her on the team.”

Fitzgerald’s role at AMOREM involves conducting education campaigns to reach goals, publishing social media content to engage with the community, writing regular press releases and establishing special projects that enrich AMOREM’s mission and community outreach goals. She and the community engagement team aim to educate the community, referral sources and patients and families on the services provided by AMOREM to connect resources with those who need them.

“I am grateful to be in the unique position to share the stories of our organization, staff, volunteers and patients,” Fitzgerald said. “It is nothing short of an honor.”

To learn more about AMOREM services and events, visit www.amoremsupport.org.

AMOREM Welcomes Volunteer Coordinator, Lorie Fidler, to High Country Campus

(Published September 2022)

High Country - AMOREM, formerly Burke Hospice and Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, warmly welcomes Lorie Fidler, BA, as volunteer and outreach coordinator for the High Country service area.

“I researched AMOREM and instantly saw the love, compassion and support that AMOREM has for those that they serve, and I knew that this role would be the best fit,” says Fidler.

Fidler received her BA in Sociology with a concentration in Medical Sociology from University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Prior to AMOREM, Fidler was the Life Enrichment Director in the memory care community at Deerfield Assisted Living. Her role at Deerfield is where her love for the geriatric population was born and where it blossomed into the passion that she holds today.

“I am excited and grateful to have this opportunity,” says Fidler. “I am able to continue doing what I love most by bringing joy to others, working with the community and by making someone’s daily life a bit easier.”

Volunteering creates the opportunity to bring joy to others and to oneself within a community environment. AMOREM offers many outlets for volunteers to operate within such as a volunTEEN program, veteran volunteering, adult volunteering and several other options. There is opportunity for everyone to show quality, compassion and support at AMOREM.

In partnership with AMOREM staff, volunteers serve an essential role in supporting patients and families, administrative teams and the community. AMOREM will host volunteer training in November of 2022 for adults who are interested in becoming hospice volunteers. Attendance will be mandatory at each session. To reserve a spot, volunteers must complete an application at www.amoremsupport.org/volunteer.

For more information or to register for the next adult volunteer training opportunity, visit www.amoremsupport.org/volunteer or contact Cyndi Akins, Megan Parillo or Lorie Fidler at 828.754.0101. You may also email them at cakins@amoremsupport.org, mparillo@amoremsupport.org or lfidler@amoremsupport.org.

AMOREM Team Attends Communication Training in Oncology

(Published September 2022)

Valdese- AMOREM’s Director of Faith Outreach, Rev. Curtis Singleton and Director of Palliative Medicine, Freda Cowan, DNP, FNP-BC and ACHPN, attended a spiritual care communication training for oncology patients.

AMOREM, formerly Burke Hospice and Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care has committed to provide spiritual support to all the patients and families it serves.

The Interprofessional Communication Curriculum conference was hosted by City of Hope and the National Cancer Institute and was held in Portland, Oregon. The continued education course was designed to educate participants from all disciplines on the benefits of spiritual care. Six educators, each from different disciplines, led attendees through coursework and engaging learning opportunities.

“Research, or what we like to call ‘settled science’, has proven that spiritual care is a vital part of end-of-life care,” says Singleton.

Not only is spiritual care essential in hospice, but it is also essential for palliative medicine patients and those utilizing grief support services. The practice and engagement at the ICC conference will invite all disciplines into the necessity of spiritual care in their practices.

“We were involved in group sessions with nurse practitioners, social workers and chaplains from all over the United States, including Hawaii,” says Cowan. “The main focus was communication among professionals within the community and patients with serious illness.”

During their coursework at the conference, Cowan and Singleton participated in role playing exercises, case studies, verbal, written and logical styles of learning that related to different domains across all stages of cancer.

Singleton and Cowan will now embark on a year-long project where they will educate each discipline of AMOREM on spiritual care needs and produce measurable outcomes.

“The ICC conference will prove to be of benefit to all clinicians, staff, patients and their families when all disciplines begin implementing the basics of spiritual care into their practices” states Singleton.

 

Dietary Team Attends Fort Mill Culinary Show Bringing Home Silver Medal

(Published September 2022)

HUDSON – AMOREM Dietary team members, Tina Avery and Jason Markland recently attended a culinary clinic hosted by Premier and US Foods in Fort Mill, South Carolina, where they received a silver medal for their achievements in the clinic’s cooking competition.

Avery and Markland, who work within AMOREM’s patient care units' commercial kitchens, attended the clinic and learned to cut down waste, cost and labor during the food making process. AMOREM’s dietary duo has implemented plans in their commercial kitchen based on the knowledge that they gained from the clinic to ensure efficient and quality food for AMOREM’s patients and families.

“Using the skills that we learned through the clinic, Jason and I plan on creating a ‘food waste pyramid’ and a ‘choose your own meal day’ to make sure that we are wasting as little food as possible,” Avery says.

Along with valuable lessons to bring to AMOREM kitchens, Avery and Markland competed in a mock Chopped competition at the US Foods facility in Fort Mills. Avery and Markland received a mystery ingredient basket and were required to formulate a meal using the secret ingredients.

“We most certainly received the hardest basket of ingredients,” exclaimed Markland.

Despite the challenge of creating a meal on the fly, Markland and Avery put their creative minds together and formulated a Philly steak quinoa bowl. The creative streak from both Markland and Avery led them to receive a silver medal.

“This was truly an amazing learning experience, and it was all made possible by AMOREM investing in their staff,” says Avery.

Avery intends to attend clinics regularly with the dietary team so that they continue to bring quality food to AMOREM’s patients and families in the most efficient, low-waste, way. Markland and Avery are eager to further their education in the kitchen, gain access to new recipe concepts and to compete once again.

“Next year we’re bringing home the gold!”, Markland bantered.

 

 

 

SECU Foundation announces $1.5 million commitment for new hospice initiative in Boone

(Published March 2022)

The SECU Foundation recently announced a significant grant of $1.5 million to AMOREM, the recent integration of Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care and Burke Hospice and Palliative Care. The Foundation’s commitment will go toward the construction of a new hospice patient care unit – the AMOREM SECU Patient Care Unit of the High Country. The new site will help expand AMOREM’s services and increase access to respite and end-of-life care for patients and families from Watauga, Ashe and Avery counties.

“As strong advocates for hospice care in our state, SECU is proud to support AMOREM’s goal to bring residential hospice services for patients living in this area,” said SECU Foundation Executive Director Jama Campbell. “We hope others will join our efforts to help AMOREM and the medical community provide this option of specialized care locally, offering a welcome reprieve for families who often face financial and emotional hardships when trying to coordinate care and spend quality time with their loved ones.”

The coming together of two hospice care providers to create AMOREM has helped maintain a legacy of community-based hospice care and made an even greater impact on serious illness and end-of-life care in the communities served. AMOREM projects that the future Boone unit will serve 1,150 patients from the High Country region in the first three years of operation.

“We are excited to see this project move forward,” said AMOREM CEO Cathy Swanson. “The High Country deserves a patient care unit, and the need is evident. AMOREM is extremely grateful to the SECU Foundation for helping make this possible. This patient care unit will have a lasting impact on the community and make a difference in the lives of the patients and families that we serve in the High Country.”

AMOREM hopes to begin construction of the High Country patient care unit in late summer.

In 1988, AMOREM (then Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care) opened the first hospice patient care unit in the state of North Carolina. In addition to the unit in Lenoir, AMOREM also operates units in Hudson and Valdese.

For more information about the building project or the campaign to raise funds in support, please contact Vice President of Community Engagement Kerri McFalls or Director of Development Brittany Bonn.

 

About SECU and the SECU Foundation

A not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, SECU has provided employees of the state of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for more than 84 years. SECU is the second largest credit union in the U.S. with more than $51 billion in assets and serves more than 2.6 million members through 274 branch offices, more than 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 member services via phone, www.ncsecu.org and a mobile App. The SECU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization funded by the contributions of SECU members, promotes local community development in North Carolina primarily through high impact projects in the areas of housing, education, healthcare and human services. Since 2004, SECU Foundation has made a collective financial commitment of more than $216 million for initiatives to benefit North Carolinians statewide.

 

Cathy Swanson, AMOREM CEO, discusses what's changing and what is not. Click here!

 

 

AMOREM: Burke and Caldwell Integration Update

(Published July 2021)

A local hospice and palliative care provider has filled its key leadership positions and appointed a board of directors. 

On May 1 Burke Hospice & Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care officially integrated to become one provider. The new group’s name is AMOREM.

Cathy Swanson, chief executive officer of AMOREM, said the non-profit’s board of directors has been appointed.

Directors that represent both the original Caldwell and Burke Hospice boards have been appointed to the new AMOREM board. “By coming together and forming one organization we are able to keep local voices on our new board to ensure our communities have equitable representation,” Swanson said.

The 15-member board is comprised of eight individuals from Caldwell, six from Burke and one representative from the High Country service area. The board split is included in the organization’s by-laws.

Marc Carpenter, previous board chairman for the Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care Board of Directors, serves in the same role for Amorem’s board of Directors. Dr. Gregory Jones, previous board chair for Burke Hospice & Palliative Care, has been elected vice chairman.

“The intent behind the integration is to retain the integrity and vision of our community-owned hospice organizations,” Swanson said. “The vision for the collaborative partnership is to integrate two like-minded providers in order to have a greater impact on serious illness and end-of-life care in the communities served.”

The previous boards for both organizations voted unanimously to bring the two providers together.

Prior to the integration, leadership at both Burke and Caldwell were contacted by other hospice organizations that wanted to merge with or acquire the local providers. Those offers did not align with the vision to remain locally owned and managed.

“By bringing the Burke and Caldwell organizations together we maintain the legacy of community-based hospice care,” Swanson said. “As Amorem, we will offer our communities more quality, more compassion and more support.”

In addition to the board of directors, Swanson also has announced her senior leadership team. Three staff members from the legacy Burke team and seven staff members from the legacy Caldwell team fill the positions.

Swanson previously served as the CEO for Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care for more than 30 years.

The new “look” of the organization also has been released. The AMOREM logo was inspired by the Flower of Life symbol for creation and connectedness, representing both the secular and the sacred as a bridge of the spirit and the body. AMOREM – which is Latin for the act of love – was chosen as the name because of its meaning.

“The transition for our patients and their families will be seamless,” Swanson said. “Access to excellent care remains the top priority.”

In addition to the Valdese campus, patient care units also are located in Hudson and Lenoir and plans to open a unit in the High Country are in progress.

The complete integration process will take about 12 to 18 months to complete.  “A master integration plan was developed to ensure collaboration and a smooth transition,” Swanson said. “As a part of that master plan, action teams made up of both legacy Caldwell and legacy Burke staff were created to ensure best practices for the new organization are developed.”

Swanson said infrastructure details are nearly complete and there are no plans to close any of the locations or have a reduction in force. “We have highly qualified individuals and have used our internal people and resources to fill current and new positions,” she said.

Since the integration went live on May 1, the turnover rate for staff has remained at 2.5% or lower. “We are extremely pleased with how well everyone is working together,” Swanson said. “There are lots of changes, but the excitement level is high.”

Since the integration, the organization has already invested in capital improvements to the Valdese campus. The computer infrastructure has been upgraded and much-needed facility repairs are underway. Future plans include major renovations and updates to the patient care unit and other buildings on the campus.

To make a hospice or palliative medicine referral, call the Burke office at 828.879.1601 or the Caldwell office at 828.754.0101.

AMOREM’s Board of Directors:

  • Marc Carpenter, chairperson
  • Dr. Gregory Jones, vice chairperson
  • Peg Broyhill, secretary
  • Jordan Greene, treasurer
  • Dr. David Burnette
  • Rich DeAugustinis
  • David Gray
  • Rob Hinman
  • Jared Huffman
  • Mack Jarvis
  • David Lackey
  • Rhonda Lee
  • Tamra Starnes
  • Wongalee Thomas
  • Janet Winkler

AMOREM’s senior leadership team:

  • Cathy Swanson, Chief Executive Officer
  • Dr. Julia Sherrill, Chief Medical Officer
  • Carol Smith, Vice President of High Country Service Area
  • Bobbie Self, Vice President of Quality and Compliance
  • Jacquita White Blount, Vice President of Burke Service Area
  • April Moore, Vice President of Business Services
  • Kathy Tunstill, Vice President of Nursing Services
  • Anna Blanton, Vice President of Support Services
  • Kerri L. McFalls, Vice President of Community Engagement
  • Terry Johnson, Vice President of Finance

 

AMOREM: Burke and Caldwell Integration Update

(Published June 2021)

Effective May 1, Burke Hospice & Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care officially integrated to become one provider. The new group has been named AMOREM.  

“As AMOREM, we will offer our communities more quality, more compassion and more support,” said Cathy Swanson, CEO of AMOREM.  

Swanson previously served as the CEO for Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care for more than 30 years. 
“Amorem – which is Latin for the act of love – was chosen as the name for the organization because of its meaning,” Swanson said.  

The decision to integrate the two providers was made by leadership at both Burke and Caldwell in October 2020. The separate board of directors from each organization approved the decision.  

“The transition for our patients and their families will be seamless,” Swanson said. “Access to excellent care remains the top priority.” 

Marc Carpenter, previous board chairman for the Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care Board of Directors, serves in the same role for AMOREM’s Board of Directors. Dr. Gregory Jones, previous board chair for Burke Hospice & Palliative Care, has been appointed the vice chairman. 

“The vision for the collaborative partnership is to integrate two like-minded community-owned hospice and palliative medicine providers in order to have a greater impact on serious illness and end-of-life care in the communities served,” Swanson said.   

Since the announcement of the intent to merge last fall, leadership from both organizations have partnered to develop an integration plan, which will take place over the next 12 to 18 months. Some departments have already begun the integration process, Swanson said. Swanson said details on infrastructure are still in process but there are no plans to close any of the locations or have a reduction in force.

To make a hospice or palliative medicine referral, call the Burke office at 828.879.1601 or the Caldwell office at 828.754.0101.  

Burke Caldwell Integration Update

(Published May 2021)

Effective May 1, Burke Hospice & Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care officially integrated to become one provider.

The name for the new organization will be released in June.

In October 2020, leadership from the two separate organizations informed staff of the intent to integrate. The separate board of directors from each organization approved the decision.

Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care CEO Cathy Swanson will serve as the CEO of the new organization. She has served as the Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care CEO for 31 years.

“The vision for the collaborative partnership is to integrate two like-minded community-owned hospice and palliative medicine providers in order to have a greater impact on serious illness and end-of-life care in the communities served,” Swanson said. 

Since the announcement of the intent to merge last fall, leadership from both organizations have partnered to develop an integration plan, which will take place over the next 12 to 18 months.  Some departments have already begun the integration process, Swanson said.

There are no plans to close any of the locations or have a reduction in force, she added.

For the time being, referral and admission processes at the two locations will remain the same and patient care will continue at the same level of excellence.  

“The transition will be seamless for our patients and families,” Swanson said. “Both organizations have a long history of outstanding patient care and that won’t change. We are excited about the future of our new organization and to be the leader in community-based palliative medicine and hospice care for this area.”

The Burke office can be reached at 828.879.1601 and the Caldwell office can be reached at 828.754.0101.

Intent to Integrate for Greater Impact

(Published October 8, 2020)

VALDESE/LENOIR—Burke Hospice & Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care announced to employees, volunteers and donors on Thursday that the two organizations are exploring the possibility of becoming one organization.  

Both boards of directors approved the decision.

Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care Board of Directors Chairperson Marc Carpenter said the two organizations already mirror each other in many ways and feels the unity between the two will benefit the communities and people served. 

“We are excited about the possibility of joining with Burke Hospice & Palliative Care to form one organization that will increase our ability to meet the needs of our communities,” Carpenter said. “We share very similar missions, visions and values and feel this integration will provide a number of advantages to both organizations that will ensure our communities continue to receive the expert care they expect and deserve.”

The vision for the collaborative partnership is to integrate two like-minded community-owned hospice and palliative medicine providers in order to have a greater impact on serious illness and end-of-life care in the communities served. 

“Both of these programs have long placed importance on providing care and compassion to those facing life-limiting illness,” said Burke Hospice & Palliative Care Executive Director Myschell Pearson. “As healthcare continually evolves, so must local hospice organizations. The similarities in how we approach servanthood, desire to protect the integrity of what hospice was meant to be from inception, and dedication to preserve true community-based hospice and palliative care can be more concretely secured through the integration of the two agencies. We look forward to developing a new legacy of top-quality compassion and care for all those in the communities we serve.”

Burke Hospice & Palliative Care Chairperson Greg Jones, MD, a radiation oncologist, has worked with both organizations in multiple capacities for nearly 30 years. He describes the two providers as regional leaders in hospice and palliative care. As a referring physician to both organizations, Dr. Jones said both groups place emphasis on patient care and priority to communicate with referring physicians and/or other individuals involved in the patient’s care.

“In our exploration of this possibility, we have observed a mutuality of goals and purpose that should lead to a firm stand for years to come,” Dr. Jones said. “I feel certain that the people of our extensive service area will continue to be pleased by the outstanding patient and family care that a unified organization will be able to provide and the new consolidated entity will be stronger and more secure into the future as a result of the alliance.”

Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care CEO Cathy Swanson, who would serve the same role in the new partnership, said the peer organizations have a long history of working well together. “For nearly four decades we’ve had a collaborative and supportive relationship with Burke Hospice & Palliative Care,” Swanson said. “A future partnership will be built on a strong foundation of trust and mutual respect. Together, we can ensure excellent care for people dealing with serious illnesses.” 

A timeline has yet to be finalized but leadership at both organizations expect to complete the legal partnership sometime in 2021. Should the two providers combine into one organization, a new name will be announced for the group. 

There are no plans to close any of the locations and infrastructure details are still being determined.