Wellness in brief: Buncombe debuts new foster parenting programs for high-need kids

Kids from Black Mountain Home for Children
LOOKING OUT FOR KIDS: The Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth & Families earned Children and Residential Experiences Agency certification, becoming one of the first organizations in the country to do so. Photo courtesy of the Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth & Families

Buncombe debuts new foster parenting programs for high-need kids

“Right now, many children with high needs are placed outside of Buncombe due to a lack of available and trained homes to address their trauma and well-being needs,” said Amy Huntsman, foster home licensing supervisor with the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services, in a press release.

To serve those kids closer to home, Buncombe DHHS has launched High Intensity Parenting and Lifeline, two new programs that will provide enhanced training and around-the-clock access to supportive resources for foster parents, including financial incentives.

More information about foster parenting or volunteering to help children experiencing the familial consequences of addiction, domestic violence, neglect and abuse is available at buncombecounty.org/foster or by emailing amy.huntsman@buncombecounty.org.

UNCA aging program receives $1.2M federal grant

UNCA Sherrill Center
STAND-UP EFFORT: The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness, housed at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center, received a $1.2 million federal grant for its work on fall prevention. Photo courtesy of UNCA

Efforts to prevent falls among North Carolina’s older adults just got a major leg up. The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville received a three-year, $1.2 million allocation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in support of its work on healthy aging, including fall prevention.

As part of the grant, the center will aim to enroll 6,000 new participants in the evidence-based A Matter of Balance and Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention programs. The funding will also promote access to other programs that address social and behavioral determinants of health in older adults.

“NCCHW houses the statewide hub for evidence-based healthy aging programs and is an innovative leader for the network,” said Amy Joy Lanou, the center’s director and a UNCA professor of health and wellness, in a press release announcing the grant. “This grant will advance our work, from supporting the implementation of programs to driving innovation to sustain critical services.”

More information and registration details about the center’s programs are available at avl.mx/7je.

Area hospitals relax COVID-19 visitor restrictions

Two of Western North Carolina’s largest health systems have dialed down restrictions on visitors imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Asheville-based Mission Health and AdventHealth Hendersonville are allowing patients to see more people, although some limits remain in place.

At Mission, patients are permitted one “adult patient advocate” per day between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Visitors are still not allowed at Highland-Cashiers Hospital’s Eckerd Living Center, in line with state guidance for long-term care facilities.

AdventHealth allows patients in its medical/surgical and intensive care units to have one visitor at a time from 8:30-10:30 a.m. and 4-6:30 p.m. Exceptions include pediatric patients, who can be accompanied by two adults at all times, and end-of-life patients, who can receive two visitors at a time and up to six per day.

Patients with COVID-19 or under investigation for the disease may not receive visitors, except for end-of-life patients at AdventHealth. All visitors will be screened for illness and required to wear face coverings.

Standards of care

  • LifeShare Carolinas virtual donor meeting
    FACES TO FACES: Liver transplant recipient Bob D’Amelio, second from left, virtually thanked the family of donor and late Franklin resident Connor McLane in a meeting organized by LifeShare Carolinas. Screen capture courtesy of LifeShare Carolinas

    LifeShare Carolinas hosted its first virtual meeting between an organ transplant recipient and a donor’s family on June 14. Bob D’Amelio of Charlotte thanked the family of late Franklin resident Connor McLane, whose donated liver saved D’Amelio’s life.

  • The Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth & Families earned Children and Residential Experiences certification from Cornell University, becoming one of the nation’s first organizations to receive the honor. CARE emphasizes trauma-informed practices in the treatment of “abused, neglected and exploited youth.”
  • Pardee UNC Health Care in Hendersonville is now offering two new breast cancer screening techniques designed to increase testing comfort and accuracy. According to a press release from Pardee, the Hologic SmartCurve system is “specifically designed for more comfortable compression during breast imaging,” while the GE Invenia ABUS 2.0 can “improve detection in women with dense breasts by more than 37% when used in addition to mammography.”
  • Robin Martin received the 2020 Volunteer Service Award from Gov. Roy Cooper for her work with Warrior Canine Connection. She began volunteering with the organization in 2012 and donated 1,727 hours in 2019 alone. Much of that time was spent at the Buncombe County Veterans Treatment Court, where the nonprofit runs a program that connects service dogs in training with court-involved veterans.

Making moves

  • Columbia, S.C.-based Palmetto Infusion recently opened an ambulatory infusion clinic at 200 Julian Shoals Drive in Arden. According to a press release announcing the opening,  the facility offers “an alternative and serene setting” for outpatient treatment of chronic disease such as multiple sclerosis and lupus.
  • Dr. Natalie Sadler of Black Mountain and Dr. Larry Burk of Boone joined an open letter, signed by over 400 medical and public health professionals from across the country, asking the Federal Communications Commission to update its guidelines for radiofrequency exposure. The letter was organized by Americans for Responsible Technology, a nonprofit initiative that opposes the deployment of 5G wireless.
  • AdventHealth Hendersonville welcomed two new family nurse practitioners to its care team. Robin Allen joins the system’s cardiology unit, while Susannah Sitton joins AdventHealth’s Medical Group Multispecialty at Flat Rock.
  • Homeward Bound of WNC has established the Housing Is Healthcare Fund to provide rental assistance for area clients. The fund, seeded with a $250,000 gift from retired Asheville physician Dr. Brown Cosby, helps counter the loss of $72,000 in previously anticipated money from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Brother Wolf Animal Rescue announced the launch of a second low-cost mobile spay and neuter clinic. Together with the organization’s first mobile clinic launched in November 2018, the units will average about 180 surgeries each week and serve nine Western North Carolina counties once the second unit is fully operational.

To-do list

  • The Veterans Benefit Administration invites North Carolina’s veterans to a telephone town hall about its COVID-19 response at 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, with Dr. Paul R. Lawrence, the VBA’s undersecretary of benefits. Veterans may participate by calling 833-380-0417. 
  • The Henderson County Department of Public Health is seeking parents and guardians of children with special needs to serve on an advisory council that will provide input on services and resources for families and care providers. For more information or to sign up, contact Ruth Ramirez at rramirez@hendersoncountync.gov or 828-694-6070. Information is also available at HendersonCountyKids.com.

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