Carolina Caring staff, board members, volunteers and other community members gathered at the Newton facility recently to celebrate the organization’s 40th anniversary.

The organization got its start in 1979, when end-of-life health care was just beginning to take off. Now, President and Chief Executive Officer David Cook says Carolina Caring provides many more services.

“We learned over a 40-year period how to provide great care in a home setting,” Cook said. “Why can’t we do that for those who are suffering today and who aren’t ready for hospice?”

Carolina Caring has supported those with chronic and serious illnesses by offering palliative care options. “Today, we are serving 360 patients in hospice care. We’re also serving 760 patients in palliative care,” Cook said. “Patients and families have needs that are different than what they had 40 years ago.

“We see individuals living with chronic illness and serious illness that aren’t ready or eligible for hospice care; but, they still need help and support,” he continued.

This past September, Carolina Caring also introduced a pediatric palliative care program. “We’ve done a lot with adult palliative care, and we’ve met pediatric needs under the hospice benefit,” Cook said. “But, we had never stretched out to think about that family whose 11-year-old child is dealing with a serious illness.”

The pediatric palliative care program offers individualized care to pediatric patients and their families by providing a customized plan of care that addresses the physical, psychological, psychosocial and spiritual needs of the child, along with their families and caregivers.

The Duke Endowment recently gave a $700,000 grant to Carolina Caring for the pediatric palliative care program. “They see what we’re doing, and now they have put money behind a program that we think is so valuable,” Cook said.

Carolina Caring was also ranked as number 18 among health care providers in Modern Healthcare’s 2019 Best Places to Work in Healthcare and was a Hospice Honors recipient for the second consecutive year in a row.

“We’ve had a great year in many ways,” Cook said. “We believe that if our staff are happy, healthy and engaged with what they do it makes a difference when we’re out in the community helping others.”

Although Carolina Caring has made great strides in health care over the past 40 years, Cook said there is more to come. “We’re not done,” he said. “There is more that we need to do for our community, our neighbors and staff.

“We know there will be a lot for us to do in the next 40 years, but we plan to do a lot in the next five (years),” Cook continued. “We’ve been hitting the news a little more recently, and I don’t anticipate that that’s going to stop. With our dedicated staff, board members and volunteers, I think we can do so much more to serve our community.”

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