Wellness in brief: Adult day program loses space

Mark Forbes at MountainCare
LOVING LIFE: Mills River resident Mark Forbes takes part in adult day programming at MountainCare’s Flat Rock location. Here, Forbes observes Valentine’s Day as part of the organization’s Love is in the Air celebration in February. Photo courtesy of MountainCare

For older adults who benefit from safe and structured daytime activities — and their family members, who often need a break from caregiving — access to an adult day program can make the difference between living at home and moving to a nursing facility.

MountainCare, which operated under the CarePartners umbrella prior to HCA Healthcare’s 2019 purchase of Mission Health, runs adult day programs in Asheville, Brevard and Flat Rock. It’s not easy: For one thing, state reimbursement rates for the programming don’t cover the cost of providing it, says Elizabeth Williams, MountainCare’s executive director.

The challenge of making the numbers work got harder in April, when Pardee UNC Health Care notified MountainCare that it would no longer donate the use of the 6,000-square-foot building that houses MountainCare’s Henderson County adult day program.

MountainCare now must move out by the end of the year to allow Pardee to reuse or sell the building. Pre-pandemic, about 30 people took part in the Henderson County program every weekday.

On Aug. 6, Williams appealed to the community for help in locating a free or low-cost space where the program could continue operating. Likely candidates include a church meeting hall, civic organization facility, former child care space or other facility with accessibility for those with mobility issues.

Since her call for help, Williams has received many ideas and suggestions, but no solid leads. “The important thing is just to try to keep some services in Henderson County as we get stable as an organization,” she explains. Community members can contact Williams at elizabethw@mtncare.org or 828-820-2152.

After closing on March 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic, MountainCare reopened on July 1 and is serving smaller groups of adult day participants at each location.

“The timing is just so difficult. It’s our first year as an independent organization, and then COVID,” says Williams. “I’m really dedicated to making sure Henderson continues to have an adult day. It has such an impact on the families that it serves.”

Community kudos

  • Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva was named to Newsweek’s 2020 list of the best maternity care hospitals. The list was compiled using data from the 2019 Leapfrog Hospital Survey.
  • A partnership between Henderson County and The Free Clinics received a Local Government Federal Credit Union Excellence in Innovation Award. The joint program provides substance use disorder diagnosis and treatment for individuals in the county detention center and creates a plan for treatment after their release.
  • Dr. Michael Messino of Messino Cancer Centers received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest award for service to the state, from Sen. Terry Van Duyn on behalf of Gov. Roy Cooper.
  • Jessica Shuford, a registered nurse at AdventHealth Hematology Oncology Infusion Services Asheville, has received the DAISY Award, which recognizes outstanding patient care.
  • Nurses Dave Przestrzelski and Jim Luetkenhaus received Secretary of Veterans Affairs’ Awards for Excellence in Nursing and for Advancement in Nursing Programs during a virtual ceremony July 17 at the Charles George VA Medical Center.
  • Skyterra Wellness in Lake Toxaway was named one of the top three wellness retreats in the country by USA Today’s annual Readers’ Choice awards. The resort has earned the distinction for three consecutive years.

New on the scene

  • Worried about skin cancer? Get checked at a free community screening Tuesday, Aug. 25, 5:30-7 p.m. at Pardee Family and Sports Medicine at 3334 Boylston Highway, Mills River. For appointments, call 828-698-7317 or visit pardeehospital.org/classes-events.
  • Pardee UNC Health Care added robotic guidance and navigation to its spine surgery toolbox. According to a hospital press release, the improved accuracy offered by the technology may contribute to “less blood loss, less muscle damage and faster recovery.”
  • Blue Ridge Community College expanded its health care course offerings for the fall semester. At its main campus, the institution added psychiatric technician and substance abuse education tracks for students interested in mental health careers; the courses are funded by a grant from Pisgah Health Foundation. BRCC also announced three health care courses at its Transylvania County campus: phlebotomy, health care billing and coding and nurse aide.
  • Range Urgent Care now offers house calls to all Asheville zip codes. The visits can provide services including lab and diagnostic tests, IV fluids and injections at a patient’s home or other location. House call vehicles also carry a selection of the most common prescription medications for urgent care issues, eliminating the need for a separate trip to the pharmacy. House call visits can be scheduled at rangeurgentcare.com and cost the same as a visit at a Range clinic plus a $49 dispatch fee.
  • The Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency Board released a statement expressing its support of the county’s immunization program and urged all eligible persons to get vaccinated. The Haywood County Health Department offers all CDC-recommended vaccines for children and adults; appointments are available at 828-452-6675.

Good to know

  • Jeddidiah W.D. Griffin, an assistant professor of biology at Mars Hill University, published a paper that explores how an enzyme involved in the reproduction of the virus that causes COVID-19 might be inhibited by an antiviral drug.
  • At the July 29 meeting of the Pardee UNC Health Care board of directors, a new executive committee was elected: Tammy Albrecht, chair; Greg Burnette, vice chair; Tommy Thompson, secretary; and Chip Gould, treasurer. Pardee also added Myles Fish as executive director of the Pardee Hospital Foundation.
  • Dr. Kevan Hansel joined Pardee Adult and Family Medicine at 1824 Pisgah Drive, Hendersonville.
  • Dr. Marianna Benson joined AdventHealth Medical Group Multispecialty at Laurel Park in Hendersonville, where she will provide primary care with a focus on geriatrics.
  • Project Dignity of WNC, which provides free feminine hygiene products to hundreds of women and girls, received a $25,000 grant from Pisgah Health Foundation. Period products cannot be purchased with public food assistance benefits, and the monthly costs, including sales taxes, can be prohibitive for many women.

Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.