Down East Hospice Volunteers (DEHV) provides direct and indirect cost free compassionate support for terminally ill cancer patients, their families and caregivers in Washington County. To do this, each year we must recruit and train new hospice volunteers, engage the community through workshops, conferences, and educational sessions. Washington County has been noted as having one of the highest rates of cancer per capita in the state. Our cancer clients, during 2013 and 2014 have ranged in age from 30’s to over 100. Our oldest client, who is 103, lives at home with the support of hospice care. Approximately 75% of all of our hospice clients are terminally ill from a primary cancer diagnosis. Some of our dedicated volunteers travel great distances to assist clients to continue to provide the needed compassionate care for the terminally ill in Washington County.
Down East Hospice Volunteers is the only volunteer hospice in Washington County. Unlike neighboring counties, Washington County does not have the significant additional wealth to help support the Hospice program. Consequently our staff and Board work year round to raise funds to ensure our community receives the home hospice care they so desperately desire. Our ability to extend services beyond our current capacity is reliant upon new resources.
Direct care is hospice volunteers providing respite, emotional support, and much more for cancer patients, family and caregivers in private homes, hospitals and nursing homes – wherever the client resides. We plan to continue providing compassionate hospice volunteer care to terminal cancer patients in Washington County. Thus we need to continually train new hospice volunteers. We would not exist without our dedicated hospice volunteers. All our volunteers participate in state-mandated training. Two training sessions are provided annually, one in the spring and the other in the fall.
Indirect care is our additional support for the community of those touched by a terminal cancer diagnosis. Down East Hospice Volunteers receives requests for workshops, retreats, conferences and seminars pertaining to death, dying, care giving, and bereavement. Our aim is to fill as many of these requests as we can, sometimes collaborating with external facilitators in specific areas of expertise.