Kno-Wal-Lin Serves All Members of the Community with Home-Based Services

Donna DeBlois, Executive Director of Kno-Wal-Lin

In the business community, conversation about health care often concerns cost, reforms to legislation, and personnel crunches. So last Tuesday's Business After Hours at Kno-Wal-Lin was a perfect opportunity to meet the faces behind a vital segment of the health and home care network in the Midcoast. Although their new location in Belfast is currently a bit of a secret, tucked in behind the State Farm building on Route 1 across from the Belfast Agway, their impact on every aspect of the health care continuum demands attention, and quite honestly, admiration.


As Donna DeBlois, Executive Director of Kno-Wal-Lin, explained, they have services to meet the needs of pretty much anyone who wants help at home. While many assume they are only a healthcare practice for adults who are sick or disabled at home, they actually provide services through a spectrum of needs and ages, including some that are independent of health issues. From offering help with household jobs and services for anyone - working people, busy people, seasonal homeowners - to help with daily activities for those who need just a bit of help with transportation or a private duty nurse, to physician guided home care and hospice and palliative care, Kno-Wal-Lin is there to help everyone, including the youngest infants.

A new effort, the Hospice House, will provide a dedicated building and place for people who are in the final weeks or days of their lives, as well as to patients whose caregivers are in need of respite from taking care of their loved ones who are facing the end of their lives. Hospice House staff will also provide support and hospitality for families who are grieving and want to be with their loved ones during their final days. People interested in supporting this project can purchase a brick memorializing a loved one for $125. To contribute, check their web site at, and then click Hospice House.

More impressive than their array of services is the commitment to continuous quality that was made apparent through the passion expressed by each of the representatives who were at Tuesday's event. Britt Gimliwitz described her role monitoring up to 75 people through remote access. Each morning her patients check in by running a series of self administered health screenings, which they transmit through the phone line to Britt, who then checks in with them about their status. Britt explained that the process educates patients about the impact of their choices on their health, since the daily connection becomes evident through the process. The added adavantage is the extended life expectancy and increased quality-of-life patients experience as they become more connected to their own health. Of course, an additional benefit is the greatly reduced costs, not only through reducing hospital staff, but also in preventing serious illness though early monitoring and health education.

Another innovation in the works will expand the connectivity among all Maine Health providers, allowing the various organizations to share patient records. Patient records from Kno-Wal-Lin can be accessed by Maine Medical Center, Waldo County General Hospital, and the rest of the Maine Health family of providers - a great step toward the goal of universal electronic health care records.

Business After Hours always represents a great opportunity to meet the people who make our community special. It's a fascinating look at the many 'worlds' around us - from the Ecovillage to the Belfast Center community of micro businesses to Penobscot Shores and more. Although many of us may not have used the services provided by Kno-Wal-Lin, it's great to know this cadre of passionate, committed professionals exists, dedicated to continually improving the access to and quality of health care along our stretch of the Maine coast.


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