Since Hospice West Parry Sound (HWPS) began in 1997, the number of volunteers serving the area has grown to approximately 50.
Compassionate Hospice volunteers meet growing demand.
Jan Merli, Executive Director for Hospice West Parry Sound, is shown with the newly-designed Hospice West Parry Sound logo. The trees, water and rocks orientate the service to West Parry Sound; while the heart reflects caring, the dove, hope, and the olive branch, new life.
Charlene Peck photo
“It has been a steady growth through awareness of the program,” explains Jan Merli, Executive Director for Hospice West Parry Sound.
161 clients served
The increase is also in response to greater demand. Between April 2011 and the end of February this year HWPS served161 patients, and volunteered over 5,000 hours.
Volunteer hours with clients doubled from the same fiscal period last year – April 2010 to the end of March 2011 – when the area Hospice served 97 clients and contributed 2,563 hours.
“For every client we serve, we touch five family members, so whether itís the wife and the kids, we work with all of those individuals,” Merli points out. “So if you really look at it, 161 (clients already this year) multiplied by five, we do serve a great number of individuals in our community every year.”
The HWPS area spans from MacTier to Rosseau and Dunchurch and up to Britt. A majority of the clients in that huge territory are in the town of Parry Sound. Volunteers go into the individualsí homes and some are involved with the hospice visiting program at the health centre.
“We have partnered with the hospital and over 85 percent of our referrals now come from the hospital, so thatís huge,” says Merli.
“We’re there and the staff is now making referrals to us, and we are considered to be an important service to the hospital.”
Hospice West Parry Sound also gets referrals from Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and from individuals in the community that have used the service, were pleased, and are now recommending it for individuals they know of who have a life-limiting illness.
30 hours training
Volunteers complete 30 hours of hospice palliative care training through the Hospice Association of Ontario (now amalgamated as Hospice Palliative Care Ontario).
Hospice West Parry Sound volunteers and supporters are currently preparing for the annual Hike for Hospice on May 6 starting from Waubuno Beach Park in Parry Sound.