Blue Ridge Hospice is a not-for-profit health care organization founded in 1981, providing physical, emotional, social and spiritual care for terminally ill patients and their families in the City of Winchester and the Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Shenandoah, Page, and western Loudoun counties of Virginia. Blue Ridge Hospice is regarded as an integral part of the health services system in the northern Shenandoah Valley and surrounding area.
Services provided by Blue Ridge Hospice are under professional medical supervision and provided to allow the dying person to live as pain-free and comfortable as possible. In most cases, hospice provides care for the terminally ill patient in the home. However, Blue Ridge Hospice's eight-bed residential center in downtown Winchester provides an alternative setting for some patients and their families.
To make quality end-of-life care available to individuals and families facing serious illness and to support anyone in our community affected by death, dying, and loss.
Blue Ridge Hospice would not be successful without its dedicated staff and a cadre of loyal volunteers. Currently, over 200 professionals serve on staff at Blue Ridge Hospice providing expertise in nursing, administration, counseling, and social work. They collaborate with more than 600 volunteers, who offer generous contributions of time, talent, and compassion.
On another level, the hospice movement has done more than just ease the dying process of the terminally ill—it has changed attitudes about dying. Thirty years ago, families were encouraged to leave the side of the dying person; children were protected from death, and death was viewed as an "if" in life and not a "when." Helen Zebarth, co-founder of Blue Ridge Hospice says,
"The United States is dealing better with death than in the past. The work of hospice has helped us nationally admit that death is not a failing of family, medical treatment, or God, but is the natural result of being alive."
Obviously, the end result of living is dying, a natural process experienced by all. Often this view of the inevitable offers invaluable lessons, as expressed by a Blue Ridge Hospice volunteer:
"Often, we get more out of this relationship than we give, that we learn more than we teach, that the dying are in fact our best teachers. Thank you for letting us hold your hand. You said I gave you courage, but together we produced courage for both of us. Thank you for reaffirming that hospice is about living, for reminding us how fragile life really is, that we should live fully each day being certain to say "I love you; I'm sorry; you're so special; thank you." Our lives are fuller and have more meaning because of you."
Blue Ridge Hospice is licensed and is a certified Medicare/Medicaid provider. Services are available regardless of age, race, sex, religion, ethnic origin, physical or mental handicap, diagnosis, prior modality of treatment, or ability to pay.