What is Hospice?

Hospice is specialized care for people with terminal illness as well as support for their loved ones.  This philosophy of care addresses physical, emotional and spiritual needs.  Hospice recognizes that all of these needs are important, and they can be different for each person.  It is our belief that people can and should make decisions about their own care whenever possible.  We view dying as a natural and manageable process, full of challenges and possibilities.

You matter because of who you are.  You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but also to help you live until you die."

-Dame Cecely Saunders

The hospice program in Addison County is available through the cooperative efforts of two separate, but collaborating agencies:

  • Hospice Volunteer Services (HVS), a non-profit agency founded in 1983, provides a variety of volunteer support services to hospice patients and their families, such as hospice & palliative patient care, bereavement support and public education.  HVS services and programs are free and available to the Addison County public and are funded primarily by community donations, grants and fundraising events. 
  • Addison County Home Health & Hospice (ACHHH) provides clinical services and is funded in part by Medicare and insurance billing.

HVS and ACHHH are part of a multidisciplinary hospice team which includes a medical director, nursing, social workers, home health aides, clergy and spiritual support, complimentary care therapists, and over 150 volunteers.  The hospice team offers a wide array of services from which a patient or family may choose, based on individual goals and needs.  Referrals to the hospice program generally originate with physicians of a terminally ill patient.  However, referrals to HVS for volunteer services come from many sources such as the hospice team, private care community homes, nursing homes, hospitals, physicians, patients and their families or friends.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment, but who may or may not continue to seek medical interventions.  It means taking care of the whole person - body, mind and spirit.  By providing hope, comfort and support, a skilled palliative care team helps to guide patients and families as they make the transition through changing goals of care while ensuring the best quality of life possible.

"It's hope and more--More than traditional healthcare.  It's providing solutions for difficult times, it's being close in a time of fear, it's a friend with time to share, it's laughter in the midst of tears, it's dignity... it's humanity... it's what we do."

-National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization

HVS provides support services to patients and families through the placement of trained volunteers, educational resource materials, bereavement groups and individual support.  We believe palliative care:

  • Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process
  • Neither hastens nor postpones death
  • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
  • Offers a support system to help families cope during the patient's illness and in their own bereavement

Our Focus Areas

Our primary focus is to train hospice and palliative volunteers, coordinate their placement within the community and support them in their work of providing quality end of life care.  Volunteers usually serve in the patient's home, but are also available to serve in nursing homes, community care homes and hospitals.  Hospice volunteers provide a wide range of services that support both patients and their families, including but not limited to, respite, personal care, companionship, transportation, and bereavement follow-up.

We offer a variety of bereavement services to the people of Addison County.  These services include individual consultation as well as support groups, special programs and access to our lending library and free resource materials.  We facilitate a safe and healthy environment for individuals, groups, schools and businesses who are dealing with issues of loss and beravement.  We respond to crisis situations with readiness kits, resource materials, condolence and support.

"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."

-The Prophet

By Kahlil Gibrahn

An integral part of our mission is to provide education, understanding, outreach and resources about end of life, death and bereavement.  We sponsor several educational opportunities with speakers, films or presentations throughout the year, and are available upon request to talk with community groups, businesses and schools.

Our Mission Statement

Hospice Volunteer Services is a not-for-profit agency committed to offering care and support to those in our community facing the end of life or grieving the loss of a loved one.  Our mission also includes educating the community on dying, death, and bereavement.


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