We are all just walking each other home. - Ram Dass

Circle of Care: Dakota Koch, RN

Why did you choose hospice care as a career path?

I’ve spent the majority of my career working in critical care. I loved the intensity and complexity of intensive care units, but as I worked with patients and witnessed their suffering, I wanted them to experience relief, quality, and comfort in whatever amount of time they had. The hospice philosophy provides that.


I’m a firm believer in experiencing and living life to its fullest. I believe that this is a human right, even at the end of life. Hospice allows people a chance to live and experience more quality with whatever quantity they have left. It is so rewarding to be a part of and witness families, friends, and partners receiving holistic care and support in incredibly unfair and challenging times. 


How long have you worked at the Aroostook House of Comfort?

I’ve worked at the Aroostook House of Comfort since the fall of 2023. I enjoyed my time working at the House so much that I also started doing home hospice this year as well. Experiencing my patients from home receiving end-of-life care at the Aroostook House of Comfort is so special and a blessing for me.


How does your work help the patients, families, and your community?

I said before that I believe in LIFE. I believe that every person deserves their last days to be the way life should be: fulfilling, beautiful, and filled with support. One of my favorite parts of this job is educating on the benefits of hospice and the way that it improves the quality and experience of walking with someone through their last days. Aroostook County is home to some of my favorite people in the world; hard-working, loyal, strong people. I want the people within my home community to know that they have support and options when faced with very tough disease processes.


What is special about the Aroostook House of Comfort?

Aroostook House of Comfort is a sanctuary for our patients and their families. When people come to the House, they experience peace and rest knowing their loved ones are cared for AND so are they. Caregiver stress is a serious issue for a lot of people walking the hospice journey. The House offers a breath in the middle of a marathon for many. The attributes of the House are fostered among the many volunteers, staff, and visitors. I love reading through the family journals that are placed throughout the House. They catalog years of experiences that loved ones have had here: support, listening, caring, comfort, peace, choice—that's special.


What is most rewarding about your job?

It's hard to write down what the most rewarding part is. Life is about holding tension. Hospice is walking the tightrope of tension with others. This is an honor for me. It is an honor to help others bear their struggle and to sit with them through that. It is an honor to experience and participate in their relief. Not everyone prefers to work or even talk about death and dying, but being able to hold the hands of others as they experience it, being able to care for them, listen to them, and hold space for them will forever be an honor. The people are the reward.



Click below to learn more about our hospice care team.