*Attribution: Dr. Kelly Erola, MD, FAAHPM, FAAFP is Chief Medical Officer for Lower Cape Fear LifeCare
Lower Cape Fear LifeCare (LCFL), formerly Lower Cape Fear Hospice, defines LifeCare as access to healthcare that provides people with a spectrum of health services from palliative care through hospice care, at any point in their lives, wherever they call home. LifeCare also provides support and education to loved ones and caregivers throughout the stages of illness and the grieving process.
During the past 40 years, our organization has experienced a great deal of growth from the number of patients and geographical area served to increased services, lines and programs. The new name reflects our growth and positions us for future development.
A spectrum of health care services to meet your changing healthcare needs
Hospice services are available for adults and children, including infants. Most patients are served wherever they call home. However, when acute care is needed, we are the only local hospice provider that has inpatient care centers available for patients and their families. As a nonprofit, we never refuse care based on ability to pay.
Although hospice care is at the heart of our agency, we currently serve almost as many palliative care patients as hospice patients. Palliative care is specialized medical care for patients undergoing treatment for serious and chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart and lung disease, diabetes, and more. Increasingly, doctors are recommending this type of care for their patients to improve quality of life through pain and symptom management.
Another staple of the agency has always been its bereavement program, now called Grief Care. Many people do not know that these services are available to anyone in our community who has lost a loved one, free of charge. Our grief care program for adults and children is extensive, and includes individual, group, in-school, Family Days, week-long youth camps, and Healing Arts workshops. Grief workshops and groups can be found on our calendar.
In New Hanover County, the nonprofit has begun a pilot Dementia Care program to help family caregivers with the challenges of caring for a loved one with a memory disorder. We are looking for ways to expand the program in the future. Workshops on The Positive Approach to Care, which can improve quality of life for dementia sufferers and their loved ones, is currently being offered to local organizations.
Community education offerings empower you to make informed decisions about complex healthcare choices.
Lower Cape Fear LifeCare’s community education offerings continue to grow. Monthly and bi-monthly Begin the Conversation advance care planning workshops are available at its Wilmington and Bolivia locations. The agency also offers LifeCare 101, and, one of its most popular workshops, a Compassionate Simulation Lab Experience to gain empathy for those living with chronic illness. Groups and organizations can request workshops on a variety of topics at no charge. You can see upcoming community workshops and conferences on our calendar.
Lower Cape Fear LifeCare encourages community members to reach out to the agency as an expert resource for care and information when they are facing a chronic, serious or life-altering illness to empower them when making complex healthcare choices.
Your partner when facing serious and chronic illness
Facing a life-altering illness can be overwhelming as a patient or a loved one. Often, people don’t know where to turn or what to ask. Let us help. We’re here to help you and your family navigate healthcare challenges faced when living with chronic or serious illness. Give us a call today at 800-733-1476.
Kelly Erola, MD, FAAHPM, FAAFP, is currently the Chief Medical Officer for Lower Cape Fear LifeCare, based in Wilmington, NC, where she has worked since 2017. Previously, she was Chief Medical Officer for Hospice Savannah, Inc. for 16 years and physician leader of the Steward Center for Palliative Care. Dr. Erola is board certified in hospice and palliative care medicine and has been involved full-time in palliative care since 2002.
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