Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County is an independent, volunteer organization, and has been serving our neighbors with compassionate end-of-life support services, free of charge, since 1980. Previously known as Hospice of Hancock County, in September 2010, the word “Volunteers” was officially added to our name to help clarify that, while we work closely with the medical hospice team, we are independent from them.
Approximately 78% of our operating budget is generated through philanthropic efforts (donations, grants, special events, direct appeals – the outreach to Towns is part of our annual appeal efforts).
On an annual basis, approximately 28 towns in Hancock County support us with financial donations ranging from $100 (one town) to $1,500 (four towns), and averaging $630.
We don’t ask for a lot from any one town, but our partnerships with the residents of Hancock County are extremely important to us, and the aggregate of the towns’ gifts makes a significant contribution to our operation – approximately 6% of our total budget. The message inherent in the towns’ partnership with us means a great deal.
Individuals may be familiar with the concept of medical hospice services and volunteer hospice services being under one umbrella. In our case, seven (7) area medical hospice organizations contract with Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County for the volunteer members of their teams. (Confusion often is expressed at the difference between us and a medical hospice organization with a similar name: Hancock County HomeCare & Hospice. We work closely and very well with them; they contract with us for their volunteers and we appreciate this professional relationship, but we are separate organizations.)
Volunteer hospice services include:
- Emotional support with end-of-life concerns
- Companionship for an ill person and members of the family
- Respite time for family caregivers so they can rest or go out
- Listening and answering questions about end-of-life issues
- Making families aware of community resources
- Assisting with bedside care
- Teaching about comfort care
- Providing transportation to medical appointments or special outings
- Running errands to the grocery or drug store
- Bedside music provided by Evensong, our volunteer hospice singers
- Offering individual and group bereavement support
- Maintaining an extensive lending library with end-of-life and bereavement resources
- Free distribution of donated equipment (wheelchairs, walkers, etc.)
HVHC volunteers complete an initial 32-hour training on end-of-life issues, and fulfill ongoing annual training requirements.