Tucked away on Second Street near the Kinsmen Soccer Fields is a 10-bed hospice that some in Cornwall refer to as a ‘best kept secret’. It’s a quiet, tranquil place where many dedicated staff and volunteers provide support to palliative care patients.
Like many organizations, Carefor Hospice experienced a drop in volunteer numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic. To continue running all their programs at full capacity, they need a new influx of compassionate and dedicated volunteers.
Kristan Poirier, Volunteer and Community Supervisor, shared that they currently have a team of 50 volunteers, and hope to draw in another 50 from the open house event which took place on April 19th.
All volunteers receive a 30-hour palliative training that is flexible to fit with their schedule. The hospice runs this training three times a year.
Some programs volunteers can apply to include:
- Transportation: picking clients up twice a week and taking them to and from day programs hosted at the hospice.
- Caregiver Support: family members are sometimes invited to share a meal and share experiences and what they are going through. Volunteers provide support and offer complementary therapies such as chat, massage, and music.
- Gardening: Each year volunteers plant and tend to a garden on the property. Food from the garden is used by the chef to cook for clients in the summertime.
Another newer program run at the hospice is the “Happy Cart” initiative that began during the pandemic, when clients and their families were required to stay in their rooms.
“A volunteer would come in and we would fill the cart with games, candy, ice cream, or sometimes things like birthday cards,” said Poirier, sharing that they tried to come up with different things that clients might not think of asking for, “They’re getting that interaction, seeing faces, and it gives us the opportunity to see what they’re needing as well.”
During the open house, Seaway News received a tour of the hospice from 8-year volunteer, Mike McAnany, who started out playing music to palliative care patients.
“I come in here and set up and play for an hour or an hour and a half. No rock and roll of course, but nice easy-going stuff,” McAnany said, adding that he added more up-tempo stuff as time went on, “Patients would come down with people who were visiting, or the nurse would take them in their wheelchair, or they would walk down.”
McAnany explained that Carefor Hospice is a special place, and that he has been touched by his experiences with residents on more than one occasion.