After 35 years, Volunteer Hospice is still serving

Thanks to the generous support of those who live in the VHOCC service area, on Nov. 16 of this year Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County will celebrate serving the community for 35 years.


In 1978, Hospice of Clallam County (its name was later changed to Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County) was incorporated as a Washington State 501(c)(3) charitable organization.


Its mission was — and still is — to provide around-the-clock registered nursing availability to terminally ill patients, while supporting them and their families emotionally, physically and spiritually with a team of nurses, caregivers and volunteers.


All of these services are provided at no cost to the patients or their families. Those who borrow durable medical equipment from the office in Port Angeles also receives its use at no cost.


This service, along with availability of durable medical equipment and grief support, allows dying patients to comfortably spend their final days at home with their loved ones and friends.


In 1978, Rose Crumb and seven enthusiastic volunteers served two dying patients at a cost of $327. Crumb retired in 2009, but the hospice has continued to grow.


It now serves an average of 85 patients per month at an annual 2013 budgeted cost of $508,650.


All the money to pay VHOCC operating expenses comes from donations, gifts from estates, fundraising events sponsored by local organizations and businesses and on a small scale from grants. None of it comes from government or insurance sources.


Almost 90 percent of the operating costs are spent locally.


Over the 35 years, VHOCC services have saved taxpayers several million dollars in Medicare costs.


All of its operational staffing, except for medical nursing care, is performed by about 140 volunteers.


Besides the ever-present pressure to raise money, VHOCC needs more volunteers to become members of the board of directors, staff the Port Angeles office, input data into the computer system, develop codes to improve system capabilities, deliver equipment to patients, help run fundraising and publicity programs and more.


The VHOCC office is at 540 E. Eighth St., Port Angeles.


Interested volunteers may contact Marilyn Olsen at 477-4260.
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