Down East Hospice in Need of Volunteers

By Lura Jackson

The hospice program is a vital way for communities to heal and to thrive, as its impact extends well beyond the client. At present, Down East Hospice Volunteers is the only hospice program in the county, and it is in immediate need of volunteers to help with clients, as well as with office work and fundraising (it is run by donation). “It’s really important for people to know that we need them, they can do this, and they can help in many different ways,” Director Barbara Barnett emphasizes.

Since the Atlantic Rehab and Nursing Center closed last year, families in the area are frequently finding themselves faced with caring for ill loved ones, and that can seem overwhelming. Awareness of the hospice philosophy (helping clients to celebrate life, every single day) and acceptance of in-home care have grown considerably over the past few decades, and people are recognizing the level of support offered by their communities.

Hospice volunteer Kathi Milicia said that she wanted specifically to be a part of the Down East program. Originally from New Jersey, she vacationed here for a number of years (missing the training each time due to scheduling conflicts), until finally moving here in 2012. “Hospice is great up here. There were some groups in New Jersey that just weren’t that good, but this is a very responsive and compassionate program.”

There will be four sessions of training held at the Calais Hospital in October: the 5th, 17th, 19th, and 26th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For information and/or an application call 454-7521, ext. 126 or downeasthospice@yahoo.com

 The free trainings are composed of workshops addressing the many psychological aspects of hospice care, and the understanding of the available support for volunteer and client alike. No medical background or nursing experience is necessary.