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Hospice heads to Hwy 10

Hospice of the Red River Valley moved from its location on Highway 34 to 1111 Highway 10 East in Detroit Lakes. DL NEWSPAPERS/Paula Quam

A big, red heart now dots the landscape that lines Highway 10 east in Detroit Lakes.

Three weeks ago, Hospice of the Red River Valley picked up that sign and all of its operations and moved across town to a new location.

After operating out of a building on West River Road along Highway 34 for eight years, the operation relocated to at 1111 Highway 10 east — a space which it shares with Meyers Cancer Care/Family Heritage.

Patient Care Manager Beth Muehlberg says the reason for the move was that the organization they shared the building with (Solutions Behavioral Health) has been growing and was in need of additional space.

“And because our staff is generally out of the office making home visits and hospital visits, we started looking around town and found this new space,” said Muehlberg, who says the new Hospice location is smaller. “But that’s okay because it’s very workable and more efficient for us and I think it has better visibility and easier access.”

Hospice of the Red River Valley, which provides end-of-life care and bereavement/counseling services, has 25 employees and nearly twice that in volunteers working out of the facility.

However, Muehlberg says space isn’t an issue, given the fact that they are all so mobile.

“We go all over — from Mahnomen and Naytahwaush to Fergus Falls to Twin Valley to Park Rapids — we cover that whole area, and so we spend most of our time out there making visits to wherever the patient lives,” said Muehlberg, who says aside from getting all the computers hooked up and working again, the transition was a fairly easy one.

“Because we only had to move basic office equipment, printers, tables, our library resource center materials…” said Muehlberg, who says because all medical records are digital and almost all employees work on a mobile device, it made the physical move even easier.

Complete with a conference room, meeting room, full kitchen, a couple of offices and a large, open space for cubicles, the new Hospice location is just the right size for Hospice workers, according to Muehlberg.

The little hub will be home to a variety of registered nurses, social workers, a chaplain, certified nursing assistants, bereavement counselors and more.

The 70-person team of employees and volunteers work together to provide comfort care to the terminally ill.

“We might be providing bed baths, medication, symptom management or if they need equipment in their homes like hospital beds or special lifts, we help them with that,” said Muehlberg. “Or it might be as simple as holding their hands or painting their fingernails.”

Hospice of the Red River Valley in Detroit Lakes is one of six Hospice RRV locations throughout the Minnesota-North Dakota region to provide these services, which also include spiritual and emotional support as well.

“And we don’t just stop after that patient dies,” said Muehlberg. “We also help friends and family after the death with individual counseling and support groups,” she added, noting that those support groups will be held in the new location.

In Sunday’s Becker County Record, some of the organization’s most treasured volunteers talk about some of the unique ways they are reaching out to those in their darkest hours.

Paula Quam

Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes, Perham and Wadena, all in Minnesota.

(218) 844-1466