Johnston Health has received grants totaling $433,000 from The Duke Endowment to enhance a palliative care initiative and to expand Project Access, a community network of care for low-income and uninsured residents in Johnston and Harnett counties.
Georgia Anthony, director of Project Access, says the Endowment grant of $216,000 will be used to continue the valuable work of the program this fiscal year, and to add a new position. A community health worker will be hired to visit patients at home to provide education and to connect them to community resources.
“We’re delighted to be able offer these additional resources,” Anthony says. “It’s our mission to improve the health and well-being of the people in our communities.”
Since 2008, Project Access has served more than 3,900 patients. It has offices inside Johnston Medical Mall in Smithfield and on Tilghman Drive in Dunn.
A palliative care initiative will get a boost with the addition of a full-time and a weekend palliative care nurse. During the next two years, an Endowment grant of $217,000 will be used for the new positions.
David Dennis, director of Johnston Health Home Care and Hospice, says the nurses will round in the hospital and at the oncology clinics to identify patients who may benefit from palliative and/or hospice care. They will also be available to consult with physicians for patients identified at home as needing services.
Palliative care puts an emphasis on improving the comfort and quality of life for patients and families. “This could be symptom-relief from an illness that may not be life-limiting,” he said. “Hospice is one of the tools in a palliative care program.”
Dennis says palliative care has been identified by the hospitalists as a great need. “They see the benefit to our patients in the hospital, and we want to support that,” he added. “This is a great start, and we’re thrilled.”
What’s The Endowment?
Based in Charlotte and established in 1924 by industrialist and philanthropist James B. Duke, The Duke Endowment is a private foundation that strengthens communities in North Carolina and South Carolina by nurturing children, promoting health, educating minds and enriching spirits. Since its founding, it has distributed more than $3.6 billion in grants. The Endowment shares a name with Duke University and Duke Energy, but all are separate organizations.