Providing care to the terminally ill has been the Hospice of Aroostook’s mission for the past 30 years. Last year, staff and volunteers served 188 patients and their families. And as News Source 8’s Angela Christoforos reports, the Hospice is reaching out to the community seeking more volunteers to assist in providing end-of-life care services…
Hospice of Aroostook Volunteer Manager Robin Haynes said, “It started off originally strictly all volunteers back in the early 80’s, and it’s very dependent on volunteers.”
She’s talking about the Hospice of Aroostook; a County wide program from Fort Kent to Danforth that provides supports for terminally ill patients with a limited life expectancy.
The administrative office for Hospice of Aroostook is at Visiting Nurses of Aroostook in Caribou. But Hospice isn’t actually a place, it involves staff and volunteers going to the home of the patients.
Hospice Volunteer Gail Phair-Kirk said, “That’s the most rewarding because you’re right there in their home, you become a guest, sometimes you become almost like family.”
There are two types of Hospice volunteer opportunities: direct care with patients, and work on special projects.
“It’s like neighbor helping neighbor, it’s specialized health care, and there’s specific training for our volunteers, any direct care volunteers must complete a 30 hour training before even stepping foot into the home,” said Haynes.
Volunteers don’t need to have a healthcare background but what they all do have, is a desire to give back.
“It’s a service that not a lot of people are aware of and people don’t like to talk about death and dying. Us coming in the home, it gives them an avenue to talk about what’s going on in their life and what their fears are. And with volunteers we sit and we listen, we’re there sometimes at the right time,” said Phair-Kirk.
There’s a need in places like Fort Kent, Eagle Lake, Ashland, and Danforth for caring and compassionate volunteers that can help terminally ill patients and families during a challenging time.
For more information on how you can volunteer, contact Robin Haynes at 498-2578 or [email protected] You can also go to www.easternmainehomecare.org.
Hospice of Aroostook is also hosting a dinner and silent auction fundraiser tomorrow night at 4:30 at the Shriner’s Hall in Presque Isle.