PINE TREE HOSPICE'S HISTORY
Modern hospice began in the United States in the 1960s as an approach to serving people with terminal illnesses. At that time, hospices were primarily made up of doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals. In the late 1980s hospice moved to Medicare-certified programs. These medical hospices are critical in providing specialized care at the end of life but have limits. To qualify, the referral must be made by a physician, there must be a diagnosis of 6 months or less of life expectancy, and a person cannot continue with curative based treatments.
Alongside the growth of medical hospices, volunteer hospices were established across the United States. What started with grassroots, neighbor helping neighbor, became established programs. Due to the advocacy about the importance of volunteers at end of life, Medicare included that volunteers must be a part of a certified program. For medical hospices that did not run their own volunteer program, they could contract with volunteer hospices to meet the requirement.
Volunteer hospices, like Pine Tree Hospice, have few limits on eligibility and do not charge for any of the services provided. People can access our services when they find themselves with a life limiting condition that does not allow them to be independent. We are also able to develop programming to meet the local needs of the communities we serve and offer services not only to individuals, but families, caregivers, and those grieving.
Twelve community members with varying backgrounds come together to discuss the need and viability of creating a volunteer hospice. All view it as a necessary addition and submit the Articles of Incorporation in November of 1985.
The first volunteer training held with 25 participants. Soon after, the Pine Tree Hospice office officially opens, staffed by volunteers who also serve as board members, directly serve clients, and organize fundraisers.
In the first year operating, 875 volunteer hours logged, approximately 25 clients served directly by a volunteer, within a 15-mile radius of Dover-Foxcroft.
The first staff member is hired – a part time Volunteer Services and Patient Care Coordinator, allowing programming to expand.
The first Executive Director was hired and served until 2004.
First Annual Variety Show. This exciting and entertaining show has been a highlight each spring since. It pulls triple duty as a fundraiser, outreach opportunity and fun local event!
Second office in Greenville opened at C.A. Dean Hospital.
First Annual Golf Tournament. This has become Pine Tree Hospice’s most successful fundraiser.
Pine Tree Hospice is now serving over 30 towns across Piscataquis, Penobscot, and Somerset Counties. 2967 hours of volunteer hours logged that year.
The need for Pine Tree Hospice services skyrockets. Individuals and care partners have become more isolated than ever with fewer resources. Volunteers are there to meet the need as always.
Pine Tree Hospice has 1 full-time staff, 3 part-time staff, and over 40 volunteers.