story & photo
by Maren Schober
Dreams really do come true and today’s ribbon cutting ceremony at the new offices of Hospice Southeastern CT (HSECT) proves it. On May 22, HSECT officially opened its new administrative office and Community Bereavement Center at 227 Dunham Street, Norwich.
“Although we moved into our new headquarters in February, we waited until now for the official opening when the weather would be warm,” Patricia Morgan, Director of Commmunity Develoment, HSECT, jokes in her opening remarks. Much laughter follows as today is cold and rainy.
Nathan Beit, Chairman Building Committee, HSECT, sums up all the thoughts when he states, “Hospice is all about providing the best end of life care in our area.”
HSECT provides hospice, palliative care and bereavement services to over 6,000 patients and their families in New London County. Most patients are cared for in their own homes. Many times care is also provided in skilled nursing facilities.
The new Community Bereavement Center offers many services including bereavement and caregiver support groups, a special program for widows and widowers, expressive arts for chidren, teenagers and adults, and educational materials and videos on coping with grief and loss.
The 8,400 square foot new administrative office and bereavement center houses over 72 HSECT employees. Staff members train patient care volunteers to support the caregiver, offer respite, companionship, assistance with household chores, complementary therapies for the patient, and help in many other ways.
Bereavement volunteers offer support to grieving family members before the patient’s death and up to 13 months after death.
Betty Beaudette, Gloria Sinopoli and Zita Smith have been volunteers for HSECT for many years. “Working with patients for Hospice makes you feel good,”
Gloria shares. “There are so many ways you can help a patient, “ Betty agrees.
“When my parents were very ill and at home, there was no hospice at that time,” Zita tells me. “ I had a health aide come in and then I went out to get things done or just relax. Because of that experience, I now volunteer for hospice and give respite care so the caregiver can have a break.”
Another Hospice volunteer, Glenn Arthur, remarks, “When my mother was very ill, hospice came and helped with her care at home. Now I am a respite volunteer for caregivers in the hospice program.”
Volunteers can be trained to help in so many ways. For more information call 860.848.5699.