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100 hands offer huge help

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Free services for persons with terminal illnesses continue to grow and strengthen through Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County.

New executive director Susan Hynes foresees continued need and progress through the organization despite the nonprofit's founder, Rose Crumb, retiring in late 2009. She started the volunteer hospice in 1978.

Just a few years ago, volunteer hospice helped about 60 people annually but now it has 104 clients from Discovery Bay to Joyce.

"I think it's growing exponentially and it should continue to impact us with rising costs of health care," Hynes said.

Volunteer Hospice has seven paid employees with six full-time nurses and Hynes as administrator.

Patients only need a physician's order and a phone call to Volunteer Hospice's Port Angeles office to open a case file and for assistance to begin.

Comfort till the end

Hynes said her nurses' level of care is not constricted to timelines.

"We could be there a day or several months," she said.

"We help people with comfort measures, pain issues and end-of-life issues," Hynes said.

A common request is to die at home. Hynes says her nurses do their best to help at this time.

"People want to die at home rather than at a nursing home, and we want to honor the patient's wishes," she said.

"Bottom line: We try to meet the patient's needs and help them through the pain cycles."

Additional resources

Along with in-home care, Volunteer Hospice offers weekly grief counseling and other support classes. A medical loan closet is one of the best-known resources that other people can use, aside from services to persons with terminal illnesses.

Users can contact Volunteer Hospice for volunteers to deliver hospital beds, wheelchairs, bedside commodes, canes, walkers and other durable medical equipment that can be reused.

Supplies also are distributed to the Dungeness Valley Health and Wellness Clinic in Sequim and the Volunteers in Medicine of the Olympics in Port Angeles and other programs in Clallam County.

More than 50 volunteers help with this and office duties.

A Sequim storage center in Carlsborg, donated by Chuck and Mike Athay, holds 25 hospital beds and several hundred supplies for the Sequim community.

"What keeps us going are the volunteers and the great community who supports us," Hynes said.

Another resource brings volunteers into terminally ill patients' homes, providing comfort and support for up to three hours per week.

These individuals do not take care of medical needs.

Hynes said she tries her best to match volunteers and patients.

Funding for Volunteer Hospice comes from memorials from past patients, United Way, Sequim Bay Yacht Club and several other local groups' donations and fundraisers.

Call 452-1511 to donate or receive support from Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County.

Call 504-0231 for the medical loan closet sponsored by Soroptimist International of Sequim.

Susan Hynes, executive director
Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County
Previously: Worked for Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe as community nurse manager for 15 years
Why nursing? While working in Seattle, she was inspired by hospice nurses because of their compassion and understanding that made her feel they made a difference.
Member of: Prescription Drug Abuse Community Council, Public Health Advisory Committee
Hobbies: Zumba, dancing, swimming, skull boating and church activities
Family: Mark Hynes, husband, and daughters Brianna, 18, Kayla, 16, and stepson Alex, 17

Other hospices
Assured Hospice of Clallam and Jefferson County
24 Lee Chatfield Ave., Sequim 582-3796, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
Lisa Bordner, patient care representative and volunteer coordinator
Assured Hospice’s services are eligible for Medicare benefits.


Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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