Kodiak’s hospice is a new organization that began offering comfort and non-medical support to patients with terminal illness last year.
It’s a service the community previously lacked. A little over a year after the organization’s first training, in December 2012, the Kodiak hospice now has a pool of more than 35-trainied volunteers, of which about a dozen volunteer regularly, according to Christy Kamai, the organization’s director. The organization now serves seven patients.
Unlike some hospice groups in larger cities, Kodiak’s service is volunteer-based, so it is not authorized to provide medical services. But there are many other ways volunteers help.
“In-homes tasks, just things that people need done but they don’t have the energy to do. We do prescription pickup, we can help walk a dog,” Kamai said. “Volunteers provide support for the family as well as the patient. “
In the coming year, a pair of volunteers is training to comfort patients with dogs, she said. The organization also operates a bereavement support group and offers assistance to families of patients for up to 13 months after a patient dies.
So far the Kodiak hospice has been able to offer help for everyone who has requested it. The next volunteer training session, which Hospice of Kodiak holds annually, will be in October.
Hospice of Kodiak is a 100-percent donation run organization, which makes fundraisers like Saturday’s event especially important, Kamai said. The 200 tickets to Saturday’s dinner hospice dinner sold out in four days.
At the event, the 2014 fundraising campaign was named in honor of Bob Hatcher, a long time Kodiak resident who served on the Kodiak Electric Association board for many years and is known for his dancing skills, according to Kathy Nussbaum the founder of Hospice of Kodiak and the president of its board. Hatcher is a 29-year cancer survivor who has lived with terminal cancer for eight years.
"He has an amazing spirit that just keeps on living,” she said.
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