COVID 19 Outbreak at Stedman Community Hospice

COVID 19 Outbreak at Stedman Community Hospice
Published on Sunday,17 January, 2021

DATE: January 17, 2021 at 4:30 p.m.
FROM: Elaine Calvert, Vice President


For Immediate Release

Outbreak declared at Stedman Community Hospice - update

St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre Brantford has been notified by the Department of Public Health that five members of our Stedman Community Hospice staff and one patient have tested positive for COVID-19. The safety and well-being of our patients, families and staff remains our first priority.


As a result of these positive cases, Public Health has declared Stedman Community Hospice to be in Outbreak status.


Essential visitation has been suspended during the outbreak. Exceptions will be made on compassionate grounds, ie. when a patient death is considered imminent (expected to occur within hours). 


"Stedman Community Hospice has strong infection prevention and control practices in place that are aligned with Ministry of Health directives and guided by public health authorities. We are working closely with Brant County Health Unit to protect our patients, staff and essential visitors,” says Elaine Calvert, Vice President of St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre Brantford.

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Lauren's Love Lives On

Lauren's Love Lives On
Published on Tuesday, 1 December, 2020

Lauren's Legacy of Love Lives On

Young mother of three leaves legacy of love and faith

On September 8, a determined Lauren Barnes lifted her young, cancer-riddled body out of bed and drove her eldest daughter to Brantford Christian School for her first day of Grade One. The following day, the 32-year-old mother of Everly, Maielle and Eden, passed away at Stedman Community Hospice with her children, husband and parents by her side. 


While it may surprise most of us to imagine that scenario, it did not surprise Lauren’s husband, Russ. Diagnosed in October of 2019 with rectal cancer that had spread to her liver, the beautiful young mom was given just months to live. And live, she did, creating beautiful memories for her children and husband, immortalized in dozens of photos and videos. 


"She didn’t just start making the most of every moment when she received the cancer diagnosis – she had always been that way,” says Russ. 


"She always cherished every moment. That’s who she was.”

Prior to her cancer diagnosis, Lauren had been in pain for several weeks. She was six months pregnant when she began to feel pain in her shoulder which was resonating through her body. Russ says that Lauren had expressed that it was the worst pain she had ever felt.


"That was telling in itself,” says Russ. 


"Here’s a woman who had given birth to two kids without an epidural telling me this was the worst pain ever, so I knew it was intense,” he says.


After a full day of not being able to relieve the pain through massage and heat packs, Lauren’s father, Guido Groeliker, took his daughter to the hospital, where they ruled out a blood clot.

The pain continued. For a month, Lauren tried to treat the pain with massage therapy, cannabis oil and other holistic avenues, trying hard to avoid pain medicine because of her pregnancy. Nothing was helping. 


Russ had been working 10 to 11 hours a day at his job at Zamboni, and when finished he would go to Brantford Christian School to perform Lauren’s duties as a custodian. 


Finally, exhausted and concerned about his wife, Russ broke down in front of his boss at Zamboni, confiding that he was sure something was terribly wrong. 


With his boss’s approval, on October 22,  Russ left work and went home, helped his wife into the car and drove her to McMaster Children’s Hospital, where he pleaded with the office assistant to take him at his word.


Lauren underwent three days of testing at McMaster and on October 25 it was determined that Lauren had a rectal tumor that had metastasized to her liver, and she had just months to live.


Lauren was seven months pregnant at the time of her cancer diagnosis. On October 27, 2019, two days after receiving devastating news, Lauren went into labour while at the hospital for treatment, and gave birth prematurely to a little girl they named Eden. 


On October 31st, mom and baby came home to Brantford – Lauren to her home and Eden to Brantford General Hospital’s neonatal unit. While the family struggled to come to terms with Lauren’s terminal illness, Lauren began chemotherapy. Eden spent five weeks in the hospital before coming home healthy and happy on December 5.  


Lauren and Russ were together for 10 years, after first meeting on an online dating site.

Having just completed university on a golf scholarship, Russ suggested Northfield Driving Range as the location of their first date, thinking it would be a good opportunity to show off his golf skills, but says it was he who was blown away. 


"I remember telling Lauren on that first date that I had friends in the NHL and friends who were semi-professional golfers, but that I didn’t envy them at all because none of them had what I wanted.”


As it turned out, Lauren wanted the same things Russ did – to marry her best friend and raise a family to the best of her ability.  She later shared with Russ that the hopes and dreams he conveyed to her on their first date resonated loudly with her because they matched her own.


"She captured my heart that day. Although I had not grown up with faith the way Lauren had, I truly felt God’s presence. I knew this was no ordinary encounter”, says Russ.


"When I think of the jobs we’ve had that paid really good money, but were putting us on a path we didn’t want to be on, we both felt so strongly that we would be happier with less if it meant we could be at home raising our children and being together. That was really important to us. Lauren was the smartest person I ever met, and could have done anything she wanted, but being the mom was the best part of her, the part she took the most pride in, and frankly, the part she was best at,” Russ shared.


"She took the job as the custodian of Brantford Christian School so she could be more involved in family life. I went to work at Zamboni here in Brantford for the same reason.”


Church and faith was a very important part of Lauren’s upbringing and Russ was eager and happy to embrace a life of faith when he married Lauren in August, 2011. 


"Faith and great support from friends are the reasons I am able to get through this.” 


"Wes Coburn, the Spiritual Care Coordinator at Stedman Community Hospice is someone I have leaned on through all of this. He’s a big reason that I am able to keep it together.”


As part of the Hospice’s Grief & Bereavement Program, grief support is available to family members from the moment a life-limiting illness has been diagnosed in a loved one. 


"I’ve always been a sensitive sort,” Russ shared, through tears.

"Wes was someone who validated and encouraged my need to express my grief openly. I’m strongest when I can cry. As men, society often teaches us that it’s not okay for a man to cry, that to hold it in was to be a man. I never felt that was true. I think it takes more courage to cry, to be vulnerable. It has been extremely helpful to have someone older and wiser than me tell me that it’s exactly what I need to do to heal.” 


During the COVID 19 pandemic, Stedman Community Hospice saw the number of patients receiving outpatient care increase significantly, largely due to the fact that limits had been set by the Ministry of Health on how many visitors a patient in a health care facility like a residential hospice could have. Receiving hospice care in their own home allowed the Barnes family to stay together until the last possible moment. 


Dr. Bernie McNeil and other members of the Hospice management team, recognizing that Lauren would eventually need the 24-hour care that residential hospice provides, devised a plan that would enable Hospice staff to observe government mandated social distancing rules and still keep the family together during Lauren’s final days. To address their special circumstances, a  large room off the Hospice kitchen, normally used as a child-centred family room was fully disinfected and set up as a patient room, with sleeping accommodations for loved ones. A separate entrance was made available that would allow loved ones to come and go without entering the common areas of the Hospice. 


Determined to stay home long enough to see her child off to her first day of school, Lauren spent just a short time in the room before passing away.


"The good news is that going forward, we now have this room available for young families, making it possible for children to be with their mom or dad until the end,” says Elaine Calvert, Manager of Stedman Community Hospice.


Even though we didn’t spend much time in this room, we were so grateful to the Hospice team for coming up with a perfect solution for our family. 


"Lauren resisted leaving her home until the very end, even when it had become obvious in her physical appearance that the cancer was taking its toll,” her husband shared. 


"We did a movie night fundraiser during that period of the pandemic when you could have 100 people in your backyard. I posted an open invitation to our friends on Facebook that morning and 80 people came that evening. We gave all the money to Cancer Research. This was the first time that her friends could see that the cancer was taking its toll on her.”


"She still found the energy. Even through her treatments, she poured so much into her kids every day – artwork, photos, videos. Over the last year I took a lot of videos of all those special moments she spent with the girls. I was documenting how she wanted her legacy to go, which was her just giving everything she had to her kids.  I also knew that years down the road, I needed my kids to fully understand who their mom was.” 


Through her illness, Lauren put notes for her husband and children into a journal. 


"She expressed in her writings that one of the things that gave her the most peace was seeing what a great dad I was, and it was important to her that I never lose sight of that because she wanted her children to know what a good man looked like, so they would know to choose someone like me when they grew up,” shared Russ. 


"The morning after she passed was the hardest day. I remember lying in bed and seeing the sun come up, and asking God "How is this possible?” because I really didn’t think it could be, but it was.”


I remember thinking about what I could do for the kids when they get up, because this would be the first time they’d come into our bedroom and their mom not be there.  So I put on a video of her and we watched it for a long time, until hunger took over and we had breakfast.”


"Even though right now I am consumed with her loss, one thing is very clear to me –

 we need to remember this beautiful creation and honour her in every way. She touched so many lives. She had a wonderful way of communicating with people. She was genuinely interested in hearing about their lives, their troubles, and could readily offer up words that comforted them. Some people could live 90 years and not have an impact. She wasn’t one of them. I was blessed to have known her, and I thank God for that every day.”  


Stedman Community Hospice provides compassionate care to end-of-life patients, as well as grief and bereavement support to patients' loved ones. If you would like to make a donation, please click here for our online donations page.






St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre Brantford returns to Outbreak-free Protocols
Published on Tuesday,27 October, 2020

St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre Brantford returns to Outbreak-free Protocols on Oct 27, 2020. Click here for details. 

Oct 23, 2020: PRESS RELEASE - COVID-19
Published on Friday,23 October, 2020

Please click on the following link for news article:
SJLCB Staff Member Tests Positive for COVID-19, Oct 23, 2020



Julie Powell to lead St. Joseph’s Lifecare Foundation  as new President & CEO

Julie Powell to lead St. Joseph’s Lifecare Foundation as new President & CEO
Published on Thursday, 4 June, 2020

[BRANTFORD, ON] - The Board of Directors of St. Joseph’s Lifecare Foundation and St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre Brantford are pleased to announce the appointment of Julie Powell as President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Lifecare Foundation, effective June 8, 2020.


"I am extremely pleased and excited to welcome Julie to our Brantford campus,” says David Wormald, President of St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre Brantford and St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph.


"Julie has an impressive track record of performance excellence and I know she will make significant contributions towards realizing the strategic goals of both the Hospice and Lifecare Centre.”


Julie brings to the position over 23 years of non-profit and fundraising leadership. She has worked within the St. Joseph’s Health System for the past three years as Director of Leadership Giving for St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation, Kitchener, with a focus on leading major gifts, planned giving and sponsorship programs for the organization.


Prior to her role at St. Mary’s, Julie was Director of Development at Norfolk General Hospital Foundation in Simcoe, where she led the Foundation team to raise $1.5 million annually for new equipment needs at the hospital.  Concurrent with the annual giving campaign and in partnership with volunteers, Julie spearheaded a $13 million capital campaign to renovate the hospital.


Previously Julie was the Area Manager for the Heart & Stroke Foundation, supporting offices in Brantford, Hamilton, Brampton, Kitchener, Guelph and Niagara in fundraising, health promotion and advocacy.


Julie has been a Rotarian for seven years and locally has volunteered with the Heart & Stroke Foundation for nine years.   She has lived in Brantford for 20 years and is very passionate about working in and contributing to the community she calls home. 


Incoming chair Steve Portelli stated, "The Board conducted a detailed, comprehensive search and of approximately 60 applicants, at least 10 were strong, viable candidates. Of those, Julie soon emerged as the ideal candidate for the position, meeting the benchmarks the Board had established for each level of the interview process. It was clear she was the right fit for us.”


Julie assumes the role on June 8, replacing outgoing President and CEO Olga Consorti, who is retiring in her 30th year with St. Joseph’s Lifecare Foundation.


"The Board is tremendously pleased and thankful to have benefitted from Olga’s outstanding fundraising skills, and especially for her vital role in the building of the initial Stedman Hospice in 2004 and the new Hospice, Hankinson House, in 2014. Olga also played an instrumental role in the redevelopment of the former St Joseph’s Hospital to create St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre,” says Karen Robb, current Chair of the Foundation.


"We wish Olga the very best in her future endeavours,” says Robb.


Unfortunately, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, a planned retirement event for Olga Consorti has been postponed and an event to welcome Julie Powell will take place once face-to-face group meeting restrictions are lifted.  


St. Joseph’s Lifecare Foundation is the official fundraising organization for both Stedman Community Hospice, a 10-bed hospice and community outreach centre, and St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre, a 205-bed long term care facility, which together form St. Joseph’s campus of care in Brantford, part of the St. Joseph’s Health System.


For more information, please contact:

Nancy Billard

Director of Development & Communications

St. Joseph’s Lifecare Foundation

519-751-7096, Ext 2476

A Widow's Story: Making the Journey from Hospice Volunteer to Consumer

A Widow's Story: Making the Journey from Hospice Volunteer to Consumer
Published on Tuesday,21 April, 2020

Having spent 25 years in  the  learning environment of the York Region Public School Board, Marion (Marnie) Hyett always embraced the opportunity to learn something new.  Now long retired  from  her  career as  a  school  secretary,  she initially  turned down the invitation from Stedman Community Hospice to participate in  the  Widow to Widow program after her husband Jim passed away there.

"I didn't think I needed it,"  she shared. "I'm so glad I changed my mind."
There was no question for  Marnie  as  to  where  Jim should spend his  final  days.   As  a  volunteer  at  Stedman  Community Hospice for the past six years, she recognized that she alone could not provide the level of care equal to that of the Hospice.

The Widow to Widow program, made possible through donor support, is  a 10-week structured group program, where women can  share their grief experience in a judgment-free environment, and reflect on how grief has affected various aspects of their lives. It  helps  dispel the misconceptions of  loss  and  helps women recognize  grief  avoidance. It also helps  women establish a new self-identity and to move on in their lives without their partner.
It provided Marnie with a new social outlet with women who were living a similar experience and through 10 weeks of grief support, many friendships were formed.

  decline  was  rapid. He  was  diagnosed with colon  cancer in early  May of  2019.  A  week  later  he  made an emergency trip to Brantford General Hospital  where  he  soon underwent  surgery. Shortly after, his  doctor determined  the  cancer had progressed quickly and nothing more could be done but to make him comfortable.
Jim passed away in Hospice on June 9th, the  day after  their 62nd wedding anniversary.

"He hadn't ever made a big deal about anniversaries," says Marnie, 
"but this time, in the days leading up to it, he had mentioned it number of times, to the point where  the  nurses and personal support workers  said  to me that they probably should get busy and do something.

The staff and Marnie surprised Jim with a  cake.  He was awake  and alert long enough to know they were celebrating and softly said to Marnie "Our anniversary."
"He knew," says Marnie, smiling.

Later that night, one minute  after midnight, Jim passed  away peacefully with his wife by his side.   Jim had a good life. The couple had raised two wonderful sons together, and were blessed with five  granddaughters.

A few weeks later, when Marnie returned to her Hospice volunteer duties, Camillia Galezowski, the Hospice's Supportive Care Coordinator and  facilitator of  the  Widow to Widow program spoke with Marnie  about  the  program and offered an opportunity for her to participate.

"I  thought  I  had  a handle  on  things," says  Marnie, "but   learned  a lot."

"I  learned there was a difference in grieving and mourning. The program allowed me  to share  some of my feelings openly with a group that was supportive and totally understanding of my feelings," she shared. 

All of us now get together once a month for dinner," says Marnie. "It's wonderful!"

The Widow to Widow program is one of a number of cost-free grief support programs made possible through donations from the community. The Hospice offers a similar program for men, as well as one-on-one support sessions for adults. A separate support program exists for children which includes one-on-one sessions as well as an annual day camp and Christmas activity program.

The Hospice also offers a Day Wellness program for individuals who have been diagnosed with a life-altering illness. Participants have the opportunity to engage with others who are learning to manage a new reality.

"I'm so grateful to the donors for making  the  Widow to Widow program possible, for making this building  possible," says Marnie. 

 people here are like family to me.   It really is  a  wonderful place; we  are  so  lucky  to have it in our community."

To make a donation in support of Grief Bereavement programs at Stedman Community Hospiceplease call 519-751-7096, ext 2475 or give online at

St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre introduces Strategic Plan

St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre introduces Strategic Plan
Published on Monday, 3 February, 2020

St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre Brantford (SJLCB) is excited to present their new strategic plan.
This plan maps out the direction SJLCB will take over the next three years and beyond as we build on the quality, compassionate care we have always delivered. This is a bold strategic plan that reflects the many voices that have informed the planning process. These voices include employees and physicians, clients and their families, healthcare and community partners, our Foundation and donors, and our broader community.
The plan is aligned under four clear directions:


Through these directions, we will provide an integrated care system with our Brantford Brant partners to improve health outcomes in our community and create an inspired, motivated, and integrated community of care that will ultimately make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.
Over the next few weeks, more information will be provided about the strategic initiatives associated with each pillar. 
We are Lifecare: This is our promise and our challenge to each other - as a provider of long-term care, hospice and palliative care - we will work together to meet the care needs of our community to exceed their expectations.
Click here to download the Strategic Plan in pdf. 

Positions available
Published on Wednesday, 8 April, 2020

Outbreak at two area nursing homes.
Published on Monday, 6 April, 2020

"Our thoughts are with the employee and their loved ones,” said David Wormald, President of St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre Brantford. 

"St. Joseph’s has strong infection control processes in place that are aligned with Ministry of Health directives and guided by public health authorities. We are working closely with Brant County Health Unit to protect our patients, residents and staff,” added Mr. Wormald. 

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Brantford Expositor article below

The Brant County Health Unit has declared COVID-19 outbreaks at two area nursing homes after an employee at each tested positive for the virus.

Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke, Brant’s acting medical officer of health, said Friday that, under new Ministry of Health guidelines, a home is in a "clear outbreak” with one confirmed test from either a staff member or resident.

"Both of the staff members are self-isolating at home and we are providing no further information on their cases,” said Urbantke about the workers at St. Joseph’s Lifecare in Brantford and Telfer Place in Paris.

She noted the employees went into self-isolation even before their test results were known and that one of the employees had been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

"No residents have tested positive at either facility but we are waiting for results for tests on staff and every symptomatic resident has to be tested,” said Urbantke.

"There’s a very low threshold for (requiring) testing on these individuals and even minimum symptoms will be tested.”

Urbantke said the measures are taken to protect the vulnerable residents of long-term care homes who are at higher risk of death or serious illness due to COVID-19 due to their age, existing conditions and close living quarters.

"There are outbreak procedures at long-term care homes, even for normal respiratory outbreaks and now those are enhanced.”

Urbantke said the homes are using isolation, increased screening and testing and increased use of gloves, masks and gown.

On Thursday, the health unit reported that a 60-year-old woman, who had a pre-existing health problem, is the area’s first death from COVID-19.

She asked the media to respect the family’s privacy, saying the health unit will comment no further on the case.

"We can’t release any more. We have, in general, been releasing that information but with the sensitivity of this recent death we’re acting in respect to the family.”

When questioned about the fact other health units are releasing more detailed information about cases, including the region of a resident in the community and charts of cases by gender, age and whether they are at home or in hospital, Urbantke said it’s due to the low number of cases Brantford-Brant has at this point.

"If we released that information it might make a person identifiable but as the cases increase we will look at releasing more information.”

According to the health unit, as of Friday morning, there are 35 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Brantford and Brant. That’s up from 29 cases on Thursday, 17 on Wednesday and four last week.

Six Nations, which has its own public health unit and is not included with the Brantford-Brant statistics, is reporting seven confirmed cases of the virus.

Only one COVID-19 patient is currently at Brantford General Hospital.

Brantford’s Kate Loker says that’s her husband, Roy Loker, who has been in a medically induced coma for two weeks.

Loker said Friday that her husband has shown signs of improvement but likely will remain in a coma for several weeks.

Meantime, she is in isolation at home, with no symptoms.

Urbantke said she believes a backlog in testing, which delayed results for people,  has been addressed.

"I understand we are through it now. The testing was really ramped up since last weekend.”

Until this week, citizens have been advised not to wear masks unless they had symptoms of the virus.

But the Center for Disease Control in the U.S. Is expected to change that stance, saying people should cover their faces since they may be asymptomatic in the early days of the virus and homemade masks may at least reduce the chance of infection.

"This has been a challenge for the whole province,” said Urbantke. "But, as this evolves and more and more evidence is coming in, we’re adjusting recommendations.”

She said surgical and N95 masks must be reserved for front-line health-care workers to do their jobs but "wearing something on the face” could help protect people.

"If you cough or sneeze, it could help contain the droplets and that would be helpful. We may see recommendation evolve over the next few weeks.”

She said the health unit has a small supply of gloves and masks for some clinical procedures but the bulk of all supplies have gone to the hospital.

Urbantke stressed that people must take the threat of COVID-19 seriously.

"Obey the recommendations for physical distancing, wash your hands and protect the vulnerable population,” she said.

"This is going to take everything in our power to defeat this.”

Parade shows appreciation for health-care workers
Published on Monday, 6 April, 2020

Parade shows appreciation for health-care workers



A moving tribute to area health-care workers brought cheers, tears and applause in Paris and Brantford on Friday.

"I think people really need to see that we appreciate these frontline medical workers right now,” said Brant OPP Const. Ken Johnston, who got the ball rolling on a parade after seeing similar events held for hospitals in other municipalities. "Everybody is trying to find their own way to do something.”

He noted that both Brant OPP and Brant firefighters have made photographs of their shoulder flashes in the shape of a heart surrounding a poster of the Willett urgent-care centre in Paris.

"We were chatting about doing something a little bit more to show our appreciation,” said Johnston, the detachment’s media relations officer. "It’s a way we can show our solidarity with emergency responders, and come out to do something together.”

Just before noon on Friday, police cruisers, quad-runners, motorcycles, fire trucks and ambulances from Brant OPP, Brantford and Six Nations police, Brantford and Brant fire services and Brant Brantford Paramedics assembled in the empty parking lot at Paris District High School.

From there, the procession travelled onto Grand River Street North and turned onto Capron Street to assemble in front of the Willett’s emergency entrance. First-responders got out of their vehicles, applauding and waving to health-care workers, who had gathered outside to watch the show of support.

"It was so surreal,” said Lisa Adams, a materials handler at the Willett. "It was very touching to see the community come together in a time like this. They’ve been great to us.”

Adams said the workers are grateful that local businesses are showing their support by giving coffee cards and making other gestures of thanks, including the donation of masks and gloves.

The emergency vehicles next made their way to their next stop, Brantford General Hospital.

More than 100 health-care workers at BGH assembled outside the Terrace Hill Street entrances to await the procession, after staff received e-mails alerting them to the event.

Kelly Taylor, a medical floor unit clerk, said the parade was a great gesture.

"I think we should be doing that for them as well, because they’re out there just like we are.”

Dr. Damien Medina, who works in the intensive care unit at BGH, said "it is nice to know that people understand what it is we are doing here.

"We appreciate the show of support and we’re going to keep doing our job.”

The parade made its third and final stop at St. Joseph’s Lifecare Centre and the Stedman Community Hospice.

Brantford police Const. Shane Seibert said he also wanted to acknowledge all the personal support workers and other health-care workers at area’s various facilities that the Friday’s parade could not visit.

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