Fundraiser to help Liza’s Place upkeep

Proceeds from an upcoming Dueling Pianos fundraiser are designated for upkeep of Liza’s Place Care Center South, an inpatient facility operated by Valley Hospice near Wheeling.

The fourth annual Springtime in Paris event, featuring entertainment by 176 Keys Dueling Pianos, will take place at Wheeling Park’s White Palace on March 24. After a reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. The performance will begin at 8 p.m.

In previous years, funds generated by the event were allocated to Valley Hospice’s unfunded patient care fund. However, CEO Cynthia Bougher said, “The focus this year is on Liza’s Place.”

Valley Hospice serves 1,300 patients a year in the Northern Panhandle and eastern Ohio, she said. About 5 percent of those patients receive care at Liza’s Place, which is located adjacent to Mount St. Joseph, off Pogue Run Road.

The area’s only free-standing hospice care center has been open since March 2009. Bougher said, “Over the past eight years, Valley Hospice has provided expert symptom control for thousands of patients and provided emotional support and education for their families and loved ones.”

Naturally, some “wear and tear” has occurred to the building and its amenities, she said. Valley Hospice plans to use money raised from the upcoming event for repair and replacement of amenities such as sofa beds, placed in patient rooms for use by family members, and for furnishings in the center’s common rooms. Upkeep of the garden area also is an ongoing process, she said.

In addition, Valley Hospice still owes $2.8 million on the mortgage for Liza’s Place. Bougher said, “Many people believe it’s debt-free, but it’s not.”

The facility was built at a cost of $5.4 million. Donors contributed $1,975,000 and Valley Hospice invested $1 million, she said.

Over the years, the number of patients served by Valley Hospice has remained consistent. “Our local population hasn’t changed much, so we’re fairly stable,” the CEO said.

At Liza’s Place, the nonprofit agency offers two primary types of care:

∫ General inpatient care to control symptoms at the end of life. Patients receive around-the-clock care. A fairly short stay is involved.

∫ Short-term residential care, for when a caregiver is unable to continue providing care, either temporarily or permanently, or when a patient lives alone and has no caregiver. This form of care, involving “private pay beds,” is usually very short-term. Patients pay a standard daily room and board charge that covers 24-hour nursing care and all amenities.

In addition, Valley Hospice provides inpatient respite care when family caregivers need relief for a short period of time.

Bougher explained that patients are referred to Liza’s Place in two ways. New patients, who are hospitalized, may become eligible for hospice “to focus on end-of-life symptoms” to get pain and other symptoms under control quickly through palliative care. People who are already receiving hospice care at home can enter the center if round-the-clock care is needed.

“Acute care centers and hospitals are excellent for post-operative care or recovering from an illness,” Bougher said, while a hospice facility offers patients an “extremely home-like” atmosphere and palliative care.

“Hospitals tend to be so much busier, much louder. It’s soothing to be here (at Liza’s Place),” she commented. A patient’s anxiety level “immediately drops to 50 percent” upon entering Liza’s Place, she observed.

“All of our physicians are experts at end-of-life care,” she said. “Their care is focused on what they (patients) need. The types of care they need are what we deliver.”

Palliative care includes management of pain, anxiety and symptoms such as shortness of breath. Meals are tailored to the patient’s wishes, as much as possible.

Liza’s Place has 12 private patient rooms. Patients and families have access to a family kitchen, tranquil garden, spa, chapel and library.

Valley Hospice also operates a six-bed inpatient care center in a hospital setting at Trinity Medical Center West in Steubenville. Valley Hospice, which leases the space, moved to the site from Trinity Medical Center East in Steubenville last June.

Bougher said Valley Hospice completed $250,000 worth of renovations at the West site before the move. “It’s home-like, but not as big as Liza’s Place,” she said.

Valley Hospice provides in-home services in Marshall, Ohio, Brooke and Hancock counties in West Virginia. In Ohio, it covers Belmont, Jefferson and Harrison counties and the lower part of Columbiana County.

“At Liza’s Place, we typically serve patients from Belmont, Ohio and Marshall counties and some of Brooke County. Occasionally, we have some from Hancock and Jefferson counties,” Bougher said.

Residents of the northern-most counties who require inpatient care utilize the facility at Trinity Medical Center West.

Founded in 1985, Valley Hospice is a community benefit hospice. Most patients receive Medicare coverage.

However, Bougher said, “Some of the things we do, reimbursement does not cover everything. Fundraising is absolutely imperative to continue providing the care in the care centers that we provide.”

Noting community support is essential, she said Valley Hospice officials are grateful that area residents have embraced the Dueling Pianos event.

Serving on the promotions committee for the fundraiser are Sarah Barickman, Carole Bissett, Terriann Presutti Bonfini, Becky Carroll, Claudine Conway, Valerie Flatley, Dr. Carol Greco, Nancy Green, Judi Hladek, Kelly Lohri, Karen Padden, Debbi Shutler, Jennifer Taylor, JoAnn Williams and Vickie Zambito Wright.

The law firm of Spilman, Thomas & Battle is the presenting sponsor. Piano sponsors are Capstone Holding Co. and Moundsville Pharmacy.

Designated as Eiffel Tower sponsors are Banford and Terri Exley, Otis Eastern Service, WesBanco, Undo’s and Joseph and Kathleen Gompers and family. Arc de Triomphe sponsors are Mike and Debbie Gordon, Cynthia Morrison, Robinson Automotive Group and Grisell Funeral Homes and Crematory. To become a sponsor, call 740-859-5650 or 877-HOSPICE.

Reservations are required for the event. No tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at www.valleyhospice.org.

The ticket cost includes dinner and the show. A cash bar will be available.

A chance auction and several raffles are planned. Signature items include a diamond necklace, donated by Wallace Jewelers, and Lady Gaga world tour tickets, donated by Doug and Carole Bissett.


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