Palliative Headquarters in Port Dover
The Stedman Community Hospice in Brantford has opened an extension office in Port Dover. Among those on hand for the official opening Thursday was Dr. Robin Martin-Godelie, seated, a palliative care physician serving Norfolk County. In back, from left, are Bob Pomeroy of the Port Dover Lions, Stedman executive director Cheryl Moore, and Ross Gowan of the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise. MONTE SONNENBERG/SIMCOE REFORMER
Published on Friday, 9 December, 2016
A structured approach to end-of-life care is finally taking shape in Norfolk County.
Prior to Dec. 1, Norfolk families needing palliative care turned to the Stedman Community Hospice in Brantford and its roving team of clinicians.
Today – thanks to generous contributions from the Port Dover Lions and the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise – the Stedman hospice has an extension office in Port Dover.
The service clubs acted due to growing demand and the pressure this is placing on front-line medical workers. The Lions and Rotarians decided it was unacceptable for these professionals to be performing such sensitive and important work out of their cars and in coffee shops.
With ongoing support from the community, the Lions and Rotarians see the Port Dover office as the first step in the development of a network of centres supporting families and health-care workers devoted to palliative care.
"It takes a community to look after the fragile,” Ross Gowan, chair of the Lions-Rotary committee that headed up the initiative, said at the office’s dedication in Port Dover Thursday.
"It’s not just up to the health-care system. The vision I have is one of a community that wraps itself around those who need palliative care like a giant hug. We’re delighted to be part of that. The next step is to bring in the rest of the community to make this initiative grow.”
Bob Pomeroy echoed similar sentiments on behalf of the Port Dover Lions.
"From acorns great oaks grow,” Pomeroy said. "This is something I hope spreads and grows much bigger across Norfolk.”
The Stedman Community Hospice currently serves 600 patients and family members in Brantford, Brant County, Haldimand, Norfolk, Six Nations and New Credit. Nearly a third of this caseload is based in Norfolk, with 12 new cases from Norfolk alone referred to Stedman last week.
"The need is so great,” Stedman executive director Cheryl Moore said at Thursday’s event. "What makes death any less important than birth? The government is finally beginning to realize that end-of-life care is an important aspect of the health-care system.”
Dr. Robin Martin-Godelie, of Simcoe, is the palliative specialist serving Norfolk County. The doctor and her team are able to serve the community in a more orderly and efficient manner now that they have a base of operation for receiving clients.
"I want to extend a sincere `Thank you,’” Dr. Martin-Godlie said to the Lions and the Rotarians. "You’ve made our lives a whole lot easier.”
Derrick Bernardo, president of the St. Joseph’s Life-Care Centre – the administrative group overseeing the Stedman hospice – said this is the first time in Ontario that private organizations have marshalled their resources to provide palliative care in the community.
"Feel free to brag about that,” he said. "Your partnership has not gone unnoticed by the St. Joseph’s health-care community. You have brought care closer to home.”
The Stedman extension office is located in Suite 7 of the professional building at 23 Market Street West. The Port Dover Lions and Rotary of Norfolk Sunrise are committed to supporting the office for at least two years. Beyond that, it will be up to the community to support the venue through donations and fundraising campaigns.
Hospice provides peace
Published on Thursday,10 November, 2016
By Colleen Toms
After a hard-fought, three-year battle with cancer, Robert (Quinn) Quinlan is ready to accept his fate. Yet he is doing so with feelings of peace and contentment.
For the past three weeks Quinn has been a resident at Hankinson House in the Stedman Community Hospice. For Quinn, it feels more like a five-star hotel.
"It’s an enlightening experience,” Quinn said. "I had no idea that this place was available. I had no idea that the service provided would be so exceptional and it was really a dream come true to come here. The people are just wonderful.
"I’m delighted to be here.”
Quinn – an executive chef by trade – spent 25 years in South Florida and worked in Naples, where he spent five years at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in charge of the kitchen that fed hundreds of people every week.
"He draws a comparison to the hospice here as being like a five-star hotel,” said Quinn’s brother Tom.
The freedoms the hospice affords, such as sleeping in, watching his favourite television programs, being able to eat whatever he feels like when he feels like it, and having family and friends come and go as they please, help to make the surroundings feel very much like home for Quinn.
"We get to pace ourselves,” he said.
Friendly and caring staff and volunteers are always at the ready to assist Quinn whenever needed.
"He would probably say the staff (are his favourite),” Tom said.
"I see the same thing – happy people, always a smile on their face, they can’t do enough for you. You don’t even get close to a frown around here from anybody.”
Tom – who served as his brother’s caretaker at home with the help of the hospice outreach team for the past six months – is also thrilled that Quinn is now enjoying his last days in peace and comfort at the hospice.
"My greatest fear was him getting up in the middle night and going to the washroom because he’s had a couple of falls,” Tom said. "That worry for me is removed by him being here because he is under constant watch.”
Rather than having to ensure Quinn receives his medications and proper doses on time and keeping a constant watch when he is up and about, Tom and sister Elspeth Gowrie can now sit and relax with Quinn.
"I was so impressed when I first came to visit,” Gowrie said. "I said, ‘I could live here too.’”
Time is spent laughing, reminiscing, hosting friends, relaxing in the beautiful gardens, quietly watching television while Quinn naps or going on "road trips” with Tom.
The beautiful surroundings of the hospice, both inside and out, enhance an atmosphere of warmth and comfort. When Quinn’s son and daughter visit they can play in the games room, enjoy a bowl of soup or indulge in a home-baked treat prepared by hospice volunteers.
"Everything is so bright in here, between the windows and the colour of the walls,” Tom said. "It’s everything that you would think that a hospice is not. You come into a place and think this is going to be kind of depressing but it’s the polar opposite.”
While Quinn doesn’t have the strength he once had when he was healthy, he hopes to be a role model for his friends and family with his upbeat and positive attitude.
"I don’t have a lot of strength anymore but maybe I can help in other directions,” Quinn said. "All we can do is one day at a time.”
Quinn is given additional peace of mind knowing that after he is gone, his loved ones will continue to receive support from the many services the hospice provides.
"This is like coming home every day,” Tom said. "I look forward to coming up here, not just to see Quinn, but to also see everybody else … It lifts you up.
"I would encourage people to come here just to see the place because they would be sold right away, and that would be incentive or motivation to people to support the hospice.”
Creating Gardens That Bring Peace
Working in the gardens at Stedman House Community Hospice's Hankinson House isn't like any other job Meagan Bains has ever had.
Published on Tuesday, 6 September, 2016
"It's not like a job. It's not stressful,” she said. "Everyone is so nice here it's almost like Disney World, I can't explain it really.”
The 19-year-old Mohawk College student worked alongside Justin Leach, 17, and Blakeley Boakes, 17, in the gardens, expanding, deadheading, watering, installing flagstone path ways and much more this summer. Horticultural therapist Lynn Leach taught them about plant species, their purposes, gardening and more and says they are just as skilled as she is.
The students have also learned a lot about end of life services and received a lot of advice about life from residents, their families and other volunteers.
The students enjoyed their last day in the gardens on Friday making sure everything was left in perfect condition and saying their goodbyes to the many friends they have made at the hospice and St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre.
Cheryl Moore, executive director of the hospice said the three young people have worked extremely hard this year and she wanted to show the community that some youth are remarkable.
"These students have worked so hard and they deserve some recognition,” she said.
Leach said this isn't the only summer they have worked their hands to the grind stone. All three started three years ago when the gardens were created. Leach, a grade 12 student at Paris District High School and Boakes, a grade 12 student at Assumption College, helped bring in 125 tonnes of triple mix soil by wheelbarrow.
"We do almost everything by hand because we don't want to disturb the residents, so they worked really hard helping to make these gardens,” she said. "It's nice for them to be able to see their work blossom.”
Bains came later that summer and when she walked straight into a pond to help clean it Leach knew she was the right girl for the job.
Boakes said working at Stedman has made him very grateful for everything he has learned that has helped him become the person he is.
"We're lucky to have something so beautiful. People are lucky that when they aren't feeling well they can come out here and enjoy something so peaceful,” he said.
While Leach said he has learned a lot from the residents and other volunteers, some of which will stick with him for a long time.
"Something important for me, just to keep working hard and you'll, succeed,” he said.
Victoria Gray is a municipal affairs and general assignment reporter for Norfolk News. Contact Victoria at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow The Norfolk News on Twitter, and Facebook
Hospice to open the 4 addtional beds
The Stedman Community Hospice is getting $420,000 in annual funding from the province to open four additional beds at its new Hankinson House.
Published on Wednesday,17 August, 2016
The announcement was made Tuesday morning by Ottawa South MPP John Fraser, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins, who was joined by Brant MPP Dave Levac. Hankinson House had been receiving funding for six of its 10 beds.
The news was welcomed by Georgina Boutilier, who entered Hankinson House about three weeks ago because of her cancer.
"I think it's amazing," Boutilier said of the hospice in an interview.
"They're here for us, not them. Some people are in it for their jobs, but not these people. Everybody should die with dignity. I'm in a place where you feel it's about you."
Boutilier had fought pancreatic cancer in a successful operation that made her cancer free for five months. Then it was discovered the cancer had spread to her liver and she was given only a few months to live.
Now her goal is to make it to Nov. 9, so she and her husband, Roy, can celebrate their 25th anniversary together.
"I don't want to be greedy. Marriage is so hard today. To be married 25 years is a long time. I'm going to make it," she said.
Fraser told a gathering of nearly 40 people that the province is striving to increase funding for better palliative care.
"You want to make everything available that people need at the end of their lives," he said. "It is really critical."
He said that end of life care deserves the same kind of attention that the rest of it gets. "There are rest stations in life between Heaven and Earth and a hospice is an important one," he said.
Fraser said he was happy to announce the additional funding.
"I know it's something that will make a big difference to the community and families here."
Half of Hankinson House's residential space has sat empty since the $6.7-million building opened in 2014. Hankinson House, which fronts on Grey Street and sits on the property of St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre, was built for 10 residential hospice beds, despite approval from the ministry for only six.
Hospice officials had been hopeful for additional provincial funding.
"Anything that is worthwhile is worth fighting for," Levac told the gathering.
"We're a beacon to people in the province for hospice palliative care."
Michael Shea, chairman of the board for the Hamilton, Niagara, Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network, thanked the government for extending the extra funding.
"This marks another day of celebration," he said.
Cheryl Moore, the hospice's executive director, said the funding will help the facility deliver even better services.
"We offer so much more than end of life beds. We like to get involved as soon as there is a diagnosis. But we need those end of life beds. We will prove every day that this money is well used."
Hankinson House was built as a successor to the original Stedman hospice, also on the grounds of the lifecare centre, which opened in March 2006.
Construction of Hankinson House was funded entirely by community fundraising.
St. Joe's to open day wellness program
St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre is opening a day wellness program for seniors in September.
Published on Thursday,30 June, 2016
The program will be located in Stedman House on the centre's Wayne Gretzky Parkway property, city councillors were told this week.
The new program is among plans for St. Joseph's that were shared with councillors by Derrick Bernardo, the lifecare centre's president.
"The day wellness program will reach out to those seniors experiencing social isolation and those with mental-health problems," Bernardo said during a presentation.
"It will be able to accommodate up to 75 people each week. Programming will focus on nurturing the mind, body and soul."
Money to operate the program, which will cost $50,000 a year, will come for the first two years from the St. Joseph's Lifecare Foundation.
Stedman House is already home to kidney and continence care clinics, both of which serve residents of the St. Joseph's long-term care facility and the broader community, Bernardo said.
"Our goal is to bring care close to home."
St. Joseph's is exploring other potential uses for its property, which also is home to the Hankinson House hospice. Senior officials are looking at various options following a community health-care needs assessment, said Bernardo.
More than 30,000 people visited St. Joseph's for service other than long-term care in 2015, Bernardo told councillors.
Just over 100 patients were admitted to the hospice for care in 2015, while 79 new residents were admitted to the long-term care facility. There are 147 people on a wait list for long-term care beds at St. Joseph's.
More than 870 palliative care patients received treatment through the facility's outreach program and on site,
St. Joseph's offers 22 community services.
St. Joseph's also has introduced horticultural therapy and a new suite for medical students.
"To date, we have attracted five physicians to the lifecare centre and the ... hospice," Bernardo said.
"Our on-site physicians have taken a leadership role in educating and mentoring new doctors and medical students in the area of hospice, palliative, seniors and primary care."
Bernardo said the centre is looking for new ways to serve the community.
Hospice Funding Boost
Stedman Community Hospice officials are pleased with a funding boost announced by the provincial government on Tuesday.
Published on Wednesday,15 June, 2016
But the president of St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre, which operates the hospice, is hoping for even more good news soon
"We know that the provincial government's review of end-of-life care in the province has been completed and we remain hopeful that we'll be able to get funding for the additional beds," Derrick Bernardo said.
"It's our understanding that there could be an announcement soon."
At issue is provincial funding for all of the beds available at the new Hankinson House.
At present, the hospice receives funding for six of the 10 beds. The additional four beds were created when Hankinson House was built with the help of donations from the community raised by the Foundation. However, those beds were created with no commitment of funding from the province.
While hospice officials await word on funding for the additional beds, Bernardo said he is pleased with an extra $90,000 a year funding boost from the province.
"We are so grateful for the additional funding to support the nursing component of our residential hospice program," Bernardo said. "This is big news because it allows us to maintain the quality of care, including nursing care, that we are providing to our patients.
"I would like to applaud the provincial government for continuing to commit to the transformation of our health-care system to one that focuses on putting the needs of our patients at its centre."
The additional funding is a first step by the province to increase investment in hospice and palliative care across the province by $75 million over the next three years. The increased investment was included in the province's 2016 budget.
As part of that plan, the province is increasing funding for existing hospice beds to $15,000 per adult bed and $22,400 per pediatric bed.
The funding announcement was made by Kathryn McGarry, the MPP for Cambridge who, on Monday, was named Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry in the new cabinet of Premier Kathleen Wynne.
McGarry, who has a nursing background, said that she helped found a Waterloo Region hospice in the mid-1990s.
"Hospice care is an absolutely crucial service to have in the community," she said. "It's something that is very close to my heart and I'm proud to be part of a government that is investing in compassionate support for those at the end of life's journey.
"This is important and is beneficial not only to the patients in our health-care system, but to their families and our communities."
Brant MPP Dave Levac said that the hospice has become a key part of the community.
"The entire community has embraced the desire to provide this very important service," Levac said. "This announcement is gratefully received as we continue to build hospice services for the community."
Cheryl Moore, executive director of the hospice, thanked McGarry and Levac for their support. She also paid tribute to the staff and volunteers.
"We have an incredible team of staff and volunteers within our St. Joseph's system, foundation and hospice whom we call our hospice family," Moore said. "I want to acknowledge them today."'
Hundreds join Hike for Hospice
It's called Stedman Community Hospice but for Elaine Schelhas it will always be the house of angels.
Published on Monday, 2 May, 2016
"Make that the awesome house of angels," Schelhas said Sunday prior to the annual Hike for Hospice. "They don't have volunteers or staff here.
"They have angels - people who help you get through the most difficult times."
It was one staff member in particular - Sandee McGahey - whose compassion and empathy will remain with Schelhas forever.
"My husband, Don, was only in the hospice for a couple of days," Schelhas said. "I remember the night when we knew that he was going to pass and Sandee told me that I could be here or go home - it was my choice.
"I went home but felt compelled to come back and, when I did, when I came into his room there was Sandee, holding his hand."
Don died in July of 2013. He was 63.
"I'm just so grateful to her and everyone at the hospice for what they did for me and my family and that Sandee was there with me when Don passed," Schelhas said, adding that the staff were also there back in 2008 when her sister, Carolyn Burnett, received her end-of-life care at the hospice.
Schelhas was one of many people to participate in the 12th annual Stedman Community Hike for Hospice on Sunday despite the cool, damp weather. When Schelhas arrived for Sunday's hike, one of the first people she met was McGahey. They hugged and shared a moment just like the many other families who participated in the hike.
The event raises money to support the many programs and services offered by the hospice, including an outreach program that provides end-of-life care to people in their homes. The hospice also provides educational and bereavement programs.
Organizers were thrilled to report that the hike raised $281,094, exceeding its fundraising goal of $280,000.
Although the weather was cloudy at the beginning of the walk, the parking lot at St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre was bright as walkers wore the yellow T-shirts that are synonymous with the event. Many families participated, including Evan's Army - family members and friends of Evan Leversage, the little boy whose battle with cancer brought together a community.
Evan, who was terminally ill with an inoperable brain tumour, inspired thousands to celebrate an early Christmas in St. George last October. Evan died on Dec. 6 at the hospice and his family has spoken about how the staff restore hope to those in despair.
Everyone participating in the hike had a story, including David Elkin.
Elkin, 82, is a volunteer with the hospice day program, as well as the men's bereavement program.
His daughter, Tara, who had been undergoing months of cancer treatment, received her end-of-life care at the hospice.
"She was born and raised in Brantford but was living out of town when she got sick," Elkin said. "She was getting treatment and I used to go visit her and help out when I could."
I tried to remain hopeful that she would beat the cancer but she looked at me and told me that her time was coming. I checked into it and they said the hospice is for people of Brantford and Brant County and their families and, because she was born and raised here, she could come to the hospice."
Elkin still remembers the day she arrived.
"She was dropped off at the hospice and then her husband came to get me so that we could go visit her together. I'll never forget it.
"When we got here, she was all settled in and when we walked into her room, she looked up, smiled, gave us a thumbs up and said 'I'm home.'"
Inspiring support for Stedman Community Hospice
Published on Friday,29 April, 2016
"Typically the longest a patient is with us is three months," she said. "The average is less than two weeks."
Consorti marveled at how Shelley rallied against her fatal condition for half a year at the hospice.
Evan's Army on March for Stedman Hospice
Published on Monday,18 April, 2016
Evan's Army will be marching in the upcoming Hike for Hospice in memory of a little boy who brought together a community.
The 12th annual hike will be held on Sunday, May 1, in support of Stedman Community Hospice, where seven-year-old Evan Leversage spent the last four weeks of his life.
Evan, who was terminally ill with an inoperable brain tumour, inspired thousands to celebrate an early Christmas in St. George last October. Evan died on Dec. 6 at the hospice.
"When you walk through the doors and feel like your hope is gone, they restore your hope," Evan's mother Nicole Wellwood said of hospice staff. "The nurses and staff are so tuned into your needs. Everything was looked after so I could just be a mom. They made sure our family had our time alone with Evan at the end without the chaos."
Hike for Hospice organizers are hoping to surpass last year's fundraising total of $275,133. Upward of 2,000 people are expected to participate.
Evan's family and friends hope to raise at least $7,000.
The hike includes a one-kilometre route around the neighbourhood of St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre, 99 Gretzky Pkwy., which participants are encouraged to do as many times as they wish.
Evan's early Christmas, complete with a parade and snow, attracted attention around the world through newspaper articles, television reports and social media. More than 7,000 people turned out for the parade and Christmas lights were put up in areas all across North America in tribute to the dying youngster.
Wellwood said hospice staff continued the holiday theme, letting Evan's family set up a Christmas tree in his room and creating space to pin up some of the hundreds of cards he received from well-wishers.
"Losing Evan left a big hole in this family," said Wellwood. "We're working hard to continue his legacy."
At Easter, Wellwood and her family hosted a dinner for oncology in-patients at Hamilton's McMaster Hospital. An effort called Evan's Legacy has raised more than $70,000 for brain cancer research. There is even preliminary work being done on a children's book about the St. George boy.
Wellwood said Evan's Army, which will include his brothers, Logan, 9, and Tyson, 5, is welcoming others to join the team.
"We want the community to join us - to walk in honour of Evan or of someone else they care about."
The annual hike is the only fundraising event done for the hospice.
"Our goal has always been to ensure that no hospice patients or family ever gets a bill for the care they so desperately need and deserve," said Olga Consorti, president and CEO of St. Joseph's Lifecare Foundation. "We combine all the efforts of our staff, volunteers and sponsors to have one incredible event for the community."
Hikers who register and raise $50 in pledges will be entered into two early bird draws. One draw was held March 24. The second one will be held April 22. Prizes include a gym membership, a Fitbit, and a 40-inch flat screen TV. Participants must register by April 21 to be entered into the draw.
There are also prizes for top fundraisers, including a choice of a $1,500 gift certificate for a vacation package donated by Goliger's Travel Plus or a Via Rail voucher valued at $1,750 for a return trip for four anywhere between Brantford and Montreal.
Sharp Bus Lines is donating buses to shuttle hikers from Lynden Park Mall to the hike site. Everyone who parks at the mall will be entered into a draw for a $250 mall gift card.
Anyone who collects $100 or more in pledges will be entered into a draw to win a 48-inch flat screen TV. Hikers also will receive a limited edition pair of Hike Sunglasses for every $250 they collect, along with a ballot to win other prizes.
Hike festivities begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 1 with a Celebration of Life service to honour those lost and those who are living with a life-threatening illness.
Early registration and check-in is set for Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the St. Joe's parking lot at 99 Wayne Gretzky Pkwy., off of Chatham Street, where the hike begins and ends. Pre-registration is encouraged at www.stedmanhike.ca. Donations also can be made online.
The registration fee for all hikers is $20, which includes a hike T-shirt and barbecue after the event.
Registration on hike day, May 1, starts at 11 a.m. The hike begins at 1 p.m.