| Jun 12, 2019

Matt Walker lives north of Madoc, but he works in Addington Highlands and in North and Central Frontenac. He runs the Compassionate Care Program, which deals with a broad range of needs for individuals who are faced with a “life limiting illness”, and for their families as well.

“The services we offer don’t begin at the very end of life, and they don’t end when a life ends either. People can live, and live well, with life limiting illnesses, and we offer support for them and their families every step of the way. And we offer grief counselling as well.”

One of the programs Compassionate Care is known for is volunteer visits. Part of Matt Walker’s job is to recruit and train volunteers, match them with patients, and provide support.

Compassionate Care is also available to provide free equipment loans, (hospital and lift beds, bed rails, wheelchairs, walkers and canes) etc. and to advocate for patients as they navigate the healthcare system.

“Anything that we can provide to keep people living in their own home or with their families, even as their illness progresses, we try to do. And the best way to do that is to work with other agencies and services in communities. We don’t want to duplicate what anyone else is doing,” Matt Walker said, in an interview in Sharbot Lake this week. He works with agencies such as Land O’Lakes and Rural Frontenac Community Services who provide Community Support Services in the same region as he covers.

As part of this work, Walker has been making presentations to councils about his services, and this week he appeared before the Central Frontenac Council. Since his territory basically covers the highway 7 corridor, he was joined in Central Frontenac by Sandy Whaley from Southern Frontenac Community Services (SFCS). She oversees Visiting Hospice and Bereavement Services for SFCS, a similar program to Compassionate Care, for people living in South Frontenac and the southern part of Central Frontenac.

“We have a very good working relationship with Sandy and Southern Frontenac Community Services, and since both of our programs are based on volunteers, we make sure that everyone is covered,” he said.

Walker has been working at Compassionate Care for a year, and has learned a fair bit about the communities in Addington Highlands and North and Central Frontenac.

“People are very connected to their local communities and townships in both North Frontenac and Addington Highlands. They care for their neighbours. Keeping them in the community, with support, even when they are getting frail, is worth the effort.”

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