Hospice society hires new coordinator

PENNY DOBBIN is the new Terrace Hospice Society coordinator.

PENNY DOBBIN is the new Terrace Hospice Society coordinator.

THE NEW Terrace Hospice Society coordinator is right at home in her position.

Penny Dobbin, who’s lived here for two years with her family, was a casual social worker at the Prince George Regional Hospital and her new part-time job here taps into those skills and knowledge. The hospice society had been without a coordinator for a couple years with Betty Stewart sitting in as interim coordinator.

With the hiring of Dobbin, the office is now open for longer hours, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and new services are on the way.

“My main goals are to increase the number of volunteers and increase the number of referrals to us,” said Dobbin, adding that hospice society isn’t always suggested to people who could benefit from its services.

As the coordinator, Dobbin can take referrals, see new clients and match volunteers with clients.

Dobbin will also follow up to ask clients for an opinion about hospice services. People don’t need a referral for hospice services, they can call hospice directly, she said.

Dobbin also works closely with Mills Memorial Hospital, Terraceview Lodge, home care nurses and has been to the funeral home. She’s looking to meet with churches too.

The goal of hospice is to provide physical, psychological, social and spiritual support during the end stages of life for the client and family. And it’s client-centred.

Spirituality does not have to be part of it if the client or family doesn’t want it, she added.

“We’re not going to go in and say you have to do anything,” said Dobbin.

Hospice is starting a grieving support group, which isn’t just for people grieving a death; it can be people who have gone through the loss of a relationship, miscarriage or divorce, said Dobbin.

A new service to be added in future is memory tapes, where people who are near the end of their life can record on video or audio a personal story or message as a legacy to leave behind for family and friends. Volunteers will be trained to do the recordings and hospice is working on buying equipment.

The idea for memory tapes arose when a hospice board member really cherished a tape left behind by a loved one, said Dobbin.

What people don’t know is that hospice can provide respite for caregivers who need a break, she said. Hospice can also offer three palliative care beds at Terraceview and one bed designated as palliative care at the hospital, said Dobbin.

Hospice has used its own funds to buy medical supplies like a Broda chair that makes a person more mobile as it’s on wheels and can be moved to help a person sit up.

Dobbin is enjoying her new job and said volunteers, including board members, are really dedicated and have a lot of heart. For more on the hospice grief support group, see Community Calendar.