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Lorraine Alls: Retired Nurse, Neighborhood “Mom” Appreciates Family, Faith and Health

Lorraine Alls
Lorraine Alls

Lorraine Alls lives her life by a simple code, “If you have it, you give it.” As a child, the New Jersey native saw this creed personified in her parents, who taught that you never see someone go without. The allure of her mother’s fresh flowers and her father’s weekend fish fries made their modest home a popular community gathering place.

Alls went on to become a Licensed Practical Nurse for 42 years. She married an auto mechanic and had three children near the house where she grew up. Like her parents, she developed a huge heart for the neighborhood. Over the years, Alls took in 13 foster children and became “mom” to nearly 60 disadvantaged community children. She taught them table manners and fishing lessons, while her husband gave auto repair workshops in their garage.

“We never missed anything we gave away,” said Alls with a smile. “Today, I am proud to say that many of those children have become parents, nurses and business professionals.”

A Change in Scenery

In 2009, the self-described “Jersey Girl” became a “Mountaineer” when she moved to Newland, North Carolina to live closer to her youngest daughter – a student at the time. Despite missing the ocean, she looked forward to learning how to fly fish in mountain streams. Unfortunately, shortly after her move, Alls suffered several serious health problems which brought her to Cannon Memorial Hospital, a member of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS).

“I was amazed at the care I received at the Baker Center, the and at the hospital,” said Alls. “I told everyone that if I ever went back into nursing, I would beg to be a part of the nursing team at Cannon Memorial Hospital.”

Annual Wellness Visit

A few months ago, Alls received an unexpected call from ARHS’s Ginger Warren, FNP. After exchanging pleasantries, Warren explained that Alls was eligible to start receiving free Annual Wellness Visits (AWV) through Medicare. These complimentary AWVs are made available to patients once they reach age 65. At that time, both Medicare and ARHS advise the patient to sign up for an appointment with their primary care provider. Patients need not wait to be notified; however, as they are encouraged to schedule an AWV themselves once they turn 65. Different from an annual physical exam, AWV patients benefit from a medical history review, a health risk assessment, screening recommendations and a personalized prevention plan.

“As a retired nurse, I have a unique perspective on the importance of Annual Wellness Visits,” said Alls after her appointment with Warren at the Baker Center. “I appreciate that this healthcare system is committed to not only treating my current medical conditions, but also advocating for preventative care.”

As a member of the ARHS Health Navigation Team, Warren works alongside each patient’s primary care physician to provide enhanced comprehensive medical care. Since her AWV appointment, Alls has completed several age-appropriate screenings, received one key vaccination and become more involved in her personal healthcare management.

Legacy of Love

Now that her health has stabilized, the 67-year-old says she still has a lot she would like to accomplish in life.

“For one thing, I want to catch a trout at Wildcat Lake,” she said with a grin.

When asked what her life motto would be, Alls provided an emphatic two word answer, “Just Love.” At her church, she continues to care for the community by washing windows, teaching Bible study and completing her doctorate in theology.

“I am so blessed,” Alls added. “God has smiled on me and I firmly believe that if you have it, you give it.”

To learn more about Annual Wellness Visits call the Appalachian Regional Health Navigation Team at 828-386-2038. For more information about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System visit www.apprhs.org.