HOSPICE PRINCE EDWARD: It takes a village Nov. 8

Annette Gaskin. (Photo Submitted)

The Gazette is highlighting the experiences of individuals and families who have received care services from Hospice Prince Edward as part of its annual appeals campaign. Our residential hospice offers quality of life, dignity in death, and grief and bereavement support at no cost. While the organization receives some funding through Ontario’s Home and Community Care Support Services, 74 per cent of its annual $750,000 operations budget comes through donations and depends on giving from all those who want to ensure that Hospice services are available locally for years to come.

I’m Annette Gaskin, Secretary of the Hospice Prince Edward Foundation Board and an HPE volunteer for over 15 years

My husband Stuart and I retired to the County in 2006 with my mother who had multiple medical needs.

Hospice helped us while we cared for her 24 hours a day in our home. When she passed away, we, together with my sister, took the training to become volunteers with HPE. As volunteers, all three of us worked with clients in their homes, volunteered with office chores and were involved with the planning and opening of the Hospice Residence.

As a long time volunteer, I eventually was persuaded to offer my services to the HPE Board. When my sister was dying in Picton Hospital, our family wanted her to complete her journey at the Hospice residence. Unfortunately, the rules at the time required that transport be made on weekdays only, and, despite our arrangement of transportation, and the room waiting for her, she passed away in the hospital as we were ready to move her.

Our Hospice “family” would not leave us and encouraged us to return to the residence after we had completed our tasks at the hospital. When we arrived, they had a lunch ready for us, and mourned with us. The team at the residence will do that for every family they encounter, as their loved ones enter into rest. That after care is part of what makes Hospice so special!

The money that Hospice receives from government funding is only a portion of what is needed to allow us to run efficiently, providing the supports that families in the County need as they deal with palliative care. We rely on the generosity of the community to enable us to continue to offer a variety of services – not only end of life in the Residence. Grief support, individual counselling, special programmes and in home respite are some of what is offered at this time.

Readers can donate online at www.hospicepe.com,  e- transfer at [email protected] or mail or come into Hospice at 40 Downes Avenue, Picton, Ontario K0K 2T0.