"Trained initially as a family physician, I took on the most fulfilling aspect of my professional career as a hospice physician in 1994 with Hospice of Aroostook, currently known as Northern Light Hospice. Though I left the County several times to practice family medicine in other states, I continued to work as a medical director of a hospice agency in rural Alabama and Bangor while also working as a medical director of a large practice. Eventually, I fulfilled my ultimate goal of becoming certified in Hospice and Palliative Care. It was not possible to embark on a Palliative Care mission in Bangor at the time. Thus began an exciting endeavor to develop a Palliative Care service in the County within the TAMC service area. Since Palliative Care involves working with the most seriously ill patients who are trying to navigate their care needs, it made sense to me to return to where patients would at least have a familiar name and even a familiar face, having spent years practicing at Aroostook Family Practice. While working in cancer care as a palliative care physician, the Aroostook House of Comfort opened its doors and continues to provide care and comfort for our patients on hospice from all over the County. Since the day the House of Comfort opened, I have been one of the many providers working here. I consider it a wonderful, humbling privilege to work with the most compassionate team of men and women ministering to the needs of patients and their families at a time when the many forms of suffering are the most intense. My friends often ask how I can continue to work with dying patients. I reflect on this question often, but I keep coming back to how much “life” there is in death: the stories I hear about their loved ones are uplifting and life-giving. Witnessing a suffering patient and family achieve comfort and peace in these final moments is the most profound gift any one of us can receive in this ministry. There is never a day when I don’t look forward to coming to work at the Aroostook House of Comfort‑—it is a privilege."
- Dr. Nancy O'Neill
Click below to learn more about our hospice care team.