Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center launches LivingStories – a program based in life narrative interview research, where volunteers help patients share positive memories to lessen anxiety and promote coping skills

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in partnership with StoryWork International certified our first class of LivingStories volunteers on May 3.

LivingStories is a free program for patients at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center. Based in extensive research around Life Narrative Interviews, specially trained volunteers visit patients to conduct LivingStories reflective conversations. Patients are encouraged to focus on positive memories, strengths and coping skills while telling pieces of their life history. Reflection on these memories is shown to reduce anxiety, increase coping, and improve outlook when facing medical challenges.

“The LivingStories program is a wonderful way to reduce potential anxiety during a hospital stay,” said Melissa Perrell Phipps, patient advocacy officer and vice president of patient services for Novant Health. “Novant Health sees each of our patients as a unique, whole person. Participating in a LivingStories interview allows patients the opportunity to share in a deeply meaningful way with specially trained volunteers.  Not only does this improve their current mood, but it also  can provide long-term positive impact. Both volunteers and patients benefit, as well as family members and the clinical team. It’s a program that continues to give, full circle.”

LivingStories is based on research conducted between 2014 and 2015 at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University and StoryWork International.

Richard Stone, CEO of StoryWork International, said, “We are excited to partner with Novant Health to now expand this important service to their patients. Our research, and that of many others, has demonstrated that personal narrative is a consistently proven coping intervention in healthcare settings. It not only helps patients to feel understood as a full person, but can have a real and lasting impact on their outlook during a difficult time.”

The next LivingStories training for volunteers will take place May 24-25 at the Novant Health Conference Center. For more information on being a certified LivingStories volunteer, please contact Novant Health Volunteer Services: 336-718-5745.

About StoryWork International StoryWork International is headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC, and is devoted to taking the power of story to a new level of impact—unlocking the human spirit of creativity, innovation, and collaboration in business, healthcare, and education. The organization was founded by Richard Stone and Scott Livengood, and is developing a host of powerful applications for unleashing the productivity of businesses, improving the patient experience, and creating new research-based approaches to enhancing the learning experiences of students and educators. For more information, please visit our website at storywork.com. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About Novant Health Novant Health is an integrated network of physician clinics, outpatient facilities and hospitals that delivers a seamless and convenient healthcare experience to communities in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. Named in 2016 by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the nation’s 150 best places to work in healthcare, Novant Health network consists of more than 1,500 physicians and over 25,000 employees that provide care at over 470 locations, including 14 medical centers and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics.

Headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the health system serves more than 4 million patients annually and in 2015 provided more than $706 million in community benefit, including charity care and services. Diversity MBA has recognized the organization as one of the 50 best places for women and managers of diverse background to work and SK&A ranks Novant Health among the top 25 integrated health systems in the nation. Novant Health provides care in Virginia under the joint operating company, Novant Health UVA Health System.

For more information, please visit our website at NovantHealth.org. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact: Richard Stone, CEO
StoryWork International
407-599-0101
stone@storywork.com

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