A Friend to Veterans, A Friend to Renown

By: Alana Ridge

May 03, 2023

A three-panel photo array features Dyana Parks from Veterans Guest House visiting with senior citizens.

Did you know that 218,000 veterans and their families call Nevada home? That is almost 7% of our total population who served this country and will require quality access to healthcare at some point in their lifetime. 

When faced with a daunting diagnosis or procedure, such as cancer or surgery, Renown rises to the occasion to provide veterans and their loved ones with the highest caliber of care possible to protect the lives that protected ours. 

Accessing that care, however, can be a challenge for some. As Renown serves veterans across 100,000 square miles, veterans living in rural communities often must travel long distances – with the costs of overnight lodging standing in the way, making healthcare access out-of-budget, and sometimes, nearly impossible. 

That’s where Veterans Guest House comes in. Veterans Guest House provides veterans and their families with temporary overnight accommodations while receiving medical treatment in the Reno/Sparks area. Founded in 1993 in response to the growing number of veterans sleeping in their cars to access healthcare, the nonprofit embraces veterans and their families who would otherwise not be able to obtain the medical care they need because of inabilities to pay for overnight lodging. 

A support system for veterans, especially veterans who are senior citizens, is vital to their overall health and well-being – and seniors at Veterans Guest House never have to feel alone in their care journey. 

Enter Dyana Parks, a senior care assistant working with Veterans Guest House. A friend to Renown Health and the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute, Dyana goes the extra mile for seniors staying at Veterans Guest House – she not only helps them navigate the logistics of their care, but she also is one of their biggest mental well-being champions. 

A Helping Hand for Guests in Need 

A proud member of a veteran family herself, senior and veteran in-home care is a family affair for Dyana. With a sister experiencing post-accident brain damage, elderly parents – one of whom facing dementia – and a son and daughter-in-law in the same field of work, Dyana has a unique passion for in-home and dementia care and holds several decades of hospice experience. As such, when she was assigned to help the clients at Veterans Guest House in September 2022, it was a natural fit for her, and she immediately jumped into action. 

Dyana takes special time during her work hours to transport seniors in need to their appointments at Renown (and keeps track of all of them), sits with them through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, ensures patients stay hydrated and nourished after major procedures, picks them up from surgery and always ensures everything goes well with each patient’s care. When patients coming from Veterans Guest House need extra emotional support, Dyana is always there to make sure they are okay and push them to keep going. 

“I always say to my seniors, ‘never give up,’” said Dyana. “If a need arises, I am there to help. I love getting to know my clients and helping them go home healthy.” 

As a ‘frequent flier’ at Renown and the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute, many of our team members are thrilled when they see Dyana walking through the doors with her clients, as they know that their patient is going home with one of their strongest advocates. To Dyana, Renown is akin to a family for both herself and her clients. 

“I love Renown,” said Dyana. “Everyone there makes my clients feel as though they are more than just a patient – they make them feel like family, especially when going through a scary diagnosis like cancer. As someone who has been going there with my own family forever and who now guides veteran seniors through the process, I will always recommend Renown to anyone.” 

Dyana emulates exactly what it means to make a genuine difference in the health and well-being of our community, all while raising awareness for both Renown and Veterans Guest House. 

“More people need to know about Veterans Guest House,” said Dyana. “When I came here, I was in awe. They do so much for every guest, making them feel comfortable at home while not having to worry about finances. Almost everyone that comes here, whether it be from the rural surrounding towns or all the way out to Alaska and even the Philippines, needs treatment of some kind, and I know Renown will always give them the best care.” 

To learn more about Veterans Guest House, visit veteransguesthouse.org
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