New pilot program looks to expand hospice supports in rural communities

·1 min read

Hospice Wellington is hoping to expand services for palliative care patients and their families in rural Wellington County through a new three-year pilot program. Providing support for people who have lost a loved one is another focus of the initiative.

The project will see a new 'advocate resource counsellor' travelling throughout Wellington County connecting people with services and building partnerships with local organizations.

"I think a lot of people don't want to drive," said Julie Martin-Jansen, who started the job in July. "And I think it's really important they know we can come to them."

Martin-Jansen's position and the pilot project were made possible by an estate donation from a Rockwood couple who spent their final days at the Hospice Wellington residence in Guelph.

"They really felt that the rural areas were missing things so Hospice Wellington created a planning group to look at what the gaps are," said Martin-Jansen.

Research identified the need for in-home supports, help facilitating conversations with family about illness and dying, and more bereavement and palliative care supports to counteract isolation among rural older adults among other objectives.

A key aspect of Martin-Jansen's job is talking with local groups and organizations to determine what already exists in the community.

"We're trying to fill in the gaps, not duplicate what's already there," she said.

Three new initiatives are starting this fall:

Martin-Jansen encouraged anyone looking for resources or support to call her at 226-979-6758, even if it's to ask a question.

"That's what I'm here for, is to answer those questions and hopefully help people with whatever resources they're looking for," she said.

Alison Sandstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com

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