PASCON Volunteers Bring Daffodil Weekend To Patients
In a manicured garden tucked away off main street, half a dozen volunteers from Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket (PASCON) came together to share the colors of spring with those most in need, by preparing bouquets of daffodils for over 40 patients living with serious illnesses throughout Nantucket.
While far from the bedside of patients, the gathering was a moment for these dedicated volunteers to support patients on Nantucket with the level of personal connection and charm that Nantucketers have come to recognize as a key feature of PASCON and the Palliative and Supportive Care Department at Nantucket Cottage Hospital.
“Palliative care is specialized medical care for people impacted by serious illness with the goal of improving quality of life for both the patient and the family,” said Debbie Dolan, Nurse Practitioner and Manager of the Palliative and Supportive Care Department at Nantucket Cottage Hospital. “These volunteers are truly the backbone of the program and are the members providing much of the support to the patients, families caregivers and community, this gesture is just another example of that support.”
The special occasion marked the first time in over two years that the PASCON volunteers had come together, after being limited to video calls and emails since the early days of the pandemic.
“Now that we’re able to get together in-person it truly feels like were back in swing,” said Nancy Newhouse, long-time PASCON volunteer and island resident. “Volunteers are often a bridge between patients and caregivers, now we’re able to get back to our mission of bringing joy to these patients and reminding them that we’re always thinking of them and caring for them.”
Since its founding in 1980 as a grassroots group of Nantucket residents seeking to develop a hospice program on island, PASCON has grown into one of the most impactful non-profits on Nantucket. In the years since, the program has solidified its ties with Nantucket Cottage Hospital, transitioning its services from hospice care to supporting a more robust palliative care program, providing specialized medical care to meet the needs of community members with serious illnesses and chronic conditions.
Throughout its 40-years of caring for those patients most in need, PASCON has built a reputation for being a volunteer-led organization, with volunteers providing non-attendant respite care, socialization, companionship and education for families, patients and caregivers.
“It’s great for the patients, but it’s also great for us,” said Newhouse. “There is a level of support that each volunteer strives to provide, we’re hoping it brings patients joy, because that’s what we do, we help people and want to be there for them, however or wherever we can.”
Though independent from Nantucket Cottage Hospital, PASCON volunteers provide critical support to the Palliative Care Department and are trained to understand specific diseases and conditions impacting patients, bereavement and grief, and how to provide care and comfort to patients and their families.
“When looking at the holistic model of patient care, the question is asked, ‘does palliative care impact the quality of life for the patient and their families?’ and I believe the answer to that question is undoubtedly yes,” said Libby Tracey, Nurse Specialist at Nantucket Cottage Hospital. “This program can’t do what it does without volunteers, the hours they give and the kind of impression they leave with our patients are all critical components of why these patients and their families do better and achieve a higher quality of living while working with PASCON.”
Individuals on Nantucket interested in volunteering with PASCON are encouraged to reach out to Angela De Boer at email@example.com for more information.