When my husband was dying, he was cared for by hospice, and I will be eternally grateful for the support and care the volunteers gave to both him and to me. After he died, I realized that I wanted to pass on some of that love and support — so I became a hospice volunteer.

Hospice and palliative care combines the highest level of quality medical care with the emotional and spiritual support that families need most when facing the end of life.

Trained volunteers are essential members of the care team. More than 70 in our community, and more than 458,000 nationwide, bring comfort, love and respect to those in need.

As a volunteer, I provide care and offer respite, but I get a lot out of it, too. I have met wonderful families; I’ve been privileged to hear fascinating stories; I’ve shared laughter and companionship at a time when those things are not always easy to find.

November was National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, an important time to help others understand the important resource we have in our community. It’s never too early for a family to learn about the services hospice can provide.

Karen Burns

Vassalboro