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Reflections on my Career – David Kennedy

We can not hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.

– Ben Sweetland
David Kennedy leaving Hospice Peterborough on his last day before retirement.

There are significant moments in everyone’s life where it isn’t until later you realize the mark they will leave on you.

My 13 years at Hospice Peterborough, as the first dedicated Grief and Bereavement Coordinator, were rich in such experiences. Hospice allowed me to live life meaningfully, fully and to embrace all of the emotions and experiences of the human condition.

While there are so many people who remain in my heart and memory, the ‘Fireside Chat’ group changed me forever. Within a three month span five couples came to Hospice – all mourning the recent death of a child. I didn’t go looking for this group, they found me.

It was clear what they needed was each other and so we formed the ’Fireside Chat’ group in the old Hospice library gathered around the fireplace. And so these people found each other, certainly not the way they wanted, but in a way that embraced a different beginning and found the strength to continue to make space for an absent child.

Over the years, the group grew with the help of an incredible volunteer, whose young son had died suddenly in an accident. She provided a beacon of hope, having a firsthand understanding of their anguish and their tears.

There were so many powerful moments that happened in that room, I can’t put into words the incredible life-changing impact each person had on me. Their courage and willingness to help each other was humbling. I’m grateful to the literally thousands of people who have enriched my life – each one is a gift.

As a small organization we were able to be nimble and innovative, because donors like you allowed us to support the greatest need – which remains just as true today.

Parents were helped to find ways to live again.

Grief is the struggle with the end – never seeing a person again, hearing their voice, and never getting the opportunity to experience those anticipated life milestones.

It is also the painful adjustment to walk on this new journey, which doesn’t mean forgetting someone, or ending the love. It is closing the physical relationship, and finding new ways to remember and honour a loved one in a way which adds meaning and comfort in their physical absence.

One parent summed it up best “Hospice doesn’t have all the answers, but it does have the tools, so that we can do the work to find our way through”. This is the gift of Hospice Peterborough – to listen, embrace and hold the pain, when there are no answers.

Over the years it has been my privilege – honestly – to sit with people in their grief.

Every person deserves to be listened to, acknowledged and honoured.

Death has no regard for age and I am deeply troubled by the significant increase in younger deaths due to overdose, cancer and suicide – leaving families dealing with traumatic and complicated grief. While we cannot take away the pain and sadness, we can be there to provide support and hope through incredibly difficult times – with your help.
It’s not telling people what to do or feel but rather a shared wisdom – every emotion valid and deserving of compassion – without judgement.

In the last 3 years my work at Hospice shifted to another innovative role as a Supportive Care Counsellor for the Palliative Community Care Team. A new position to support individuals and their families after receiving a terminal diagnosis.

Over the years I have watched Hospice Peterborough grow exponentially, serving hundreds if not thousands of individuals dealing with life and death. In my last full year in this position Hospice served 923 adults and 135 children and teens in supporting them in their grief.

It truly is your community hospice. While staff play a role it is donors, volunteers and our community who made this building possible and support this privileged work.

As a donor myself, I ask you to make your donation today to support individuals and their families who will seek help from Hospice Peterborough in the coming year.

All the best to you and yours,

David Kennedy

P.S. I haven’t completely retired from Hospice work, together with palliative and bereavement health care professionals Julie Brown, and Red Keating, we launched a podcast ‘What Now? On the threshold of life, death and grief.’ I invite you to listen to our free podcasts where we share our knowledge and experiences. Each episode is a conversation meant to enlighten and demystify the often difficult and emotional experiences of dying, death and bereavement.

Click image above to listen to ‘What Now? On the threshold of life, death and grief.’
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Caring in Life and Death

For 34 years Hospice Peterborough has demonstrated a collaborative community approach, strong leadership and good governance which has led the organization to become a respected leader in the delivery of hospice palliative and bereavement care across the province.

In 2016 when Medical Assistance in Dying legislation was introduced in Canada, Hospice Peterborough struck a committee to discuss how Hospice Peterborough would integrate the new legislation into our service. The committee included representation from clients, palliative physicians, Board of Directors and staff delivering community palliative programs. The committee determined that Hospice Peterborough will not stigmatize those who choose Medical Assistance in Dying, and that staff needed to follow the guidelines of the professional health colleges which allowed health professionals to talk about MAiD if the client introduced the topic and needed help to access more information.   

Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) established a very strong program to support people who were at the end-of-life and their families in exploring and choosing to enact MAiD. Their program included education and support for the front line health care staff involved in providing MAiD and an effective booklet developed in clear, non-partisan language to describe MAiD. As a small community organization just starting to offer 24/7 care in 2019, developing or offering a MAiD program at the Hospice Residence was beyond Hospice Peterborough’s capacity.  For those interested in MAiD we work with PRHC to ensure people had access to MAiD if desired, Hospice Peterborough continues to impartially support clients and residents who wished to consider MAiD by answering questions and in helping them to navigate their choice.

In 2021, as a result of community, staff, volunteer and board consultations for the 2021-2025 Hospice Peterborough Strategic Plan – it was determined that there was a need to reinvestigate and possibly redefine Hospice Peterborough’s position on MAiD in our 10 bed hospice residence. A MAiD working group was established by the Board to coordinate an internal process to review MAiD. This extensive process included staff and Board education and focus groups, while considering feedback from the community and the review of provincial and national standards and directions from palliative care organizations including the Ontario Palliative Care Network, Hospice Palliative Care Ontario and the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association.

As the result of this extensive process, Hospice Peterborough Board of Directors have issued the following directive at their last board meeting:

“The Board of Hospice Peterborough respects and supports a person’s choice for medical assistance in dying. Therefore, the Board requests the creation of an operational plan for medical assistance in dying at Hospice Peterborough. “

Currently the operational plan is being developed in conjunction with our community partners. The Board will share more information when the operational plan is available.

For further information contact:

Hajni Hos, Executive Director
hhos@hospicepeterborough.org    

Len Lifchus, Board Chair
boardchair@hospicepeterborough.org

Hospice Peterborough
325 London Street
Peterborough, Ontario K9H 2Z5
705-742-4042  

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COVID-19 Protection Protocols, Including Masks, Remain in Place at Hospice Peterborough

While at midnight on Saturday, June 11 the last of the Ontario mask mandates are set to expire, many healthcare settings in the province will continue to require masking in their facilities. 

Upon review by our Outbreak Management Team, and in alignment with current public health guidance and our partners at PRHC, Hospice Peterborough will be continuing with the current protocols that are in place. These include donning a new medical mask upon entry (provided by Hospice Peterborough), screening at the front desk and enhanced cleaning and infection-control measures. Rapid Antigen Tests continue to be available for those who choose to be tested.

As a high risk setting, we have a responsibility to provide a safe care environment and we know that masks are one of the most effective ways to do so.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we continue to strive to provide compassionate, quality, and safe care to those at the end of life, those living with a life-threatening illness, and those who are bereaved and grieving.

We will continue to monitor any changes and will communicate in a timely manner. With questions or for clarification, please reach out to Executive Director Hajni Hős hhos@hospicepeterborough.org or 705-742-4042.

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Summer Sips

We are thrilled to finally be able to invite you for an evening in beautiful Bailieboro at Rolling Grape Vineyard.

We hope you can join us for dinner, drinks, and live music.

Thursday June 2nd, 2022 | 6pm – 9pm
Rolling Grape Vineyard
260 County Rd 2 Bailieboro ON
Tickets $80 – includes a $35 tax receipt

Limited Tickets!
We can’t wait to see you there!

All Public Health recommendations will be adhered to.
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Volunteers Wanted!

We are looking for Client Support Volunteers to join our team!

Graduating Volunteer Training class of Fall 2021

We are excited to announce dates for the mandatory 30 hours volunteer training, running 10 weeks in the evening starting April 12th. This training will take place in-person.
Information/orientation sessions will take March 22nd at 6:30pm via Zoom and March 29th at 6:30 in-person. Please register for one of these sessions by calling Carolyn at 705-742-4042 or emailing cparkes@hospicepeterborough.org.

We are so thrilled to be able to welcome new volunteers!

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Local Family Thankful for Support After Loss of Parents

After losing both parents, days apart, the Lockyer family shares story of how Hospice supported their family and aims to ensure supports continue to be available to all

Susan and Wayne

Our parents shared a great love story – one that lasted more than half a century and ended with each of them dying of a broken heart.

Many of you might know our father Wayne Lockyer – he co-owned and operated Lockyers’ Garden Centre and was a local minor hockey coach – and our mother Susan Lockyer who worked for many years at the Mapleridge Shoppers Drug Mart and was well-known for her kind soul and spectacular smile.

They were happily married for 52 years and they loved, played and worked with passion all while raising us three children.

It was devastating when Mom was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in her 70s but she maintained a positive attitude as she prepared for surgery.

It wasn’t long, however, before we received the gut-wrenching news that Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and only had a couple of months to live. Mom postponed her surgery to be by his side when he was admitted to the wonderful care of Hospice Peterborough.

We have so much gratitude for the care we received – as a whole family – when Dad stayed in the residence. Mom stayed with him 24-7 and staff even brought in a double-sized hospital bed so they could sleep beside each other. Staff catered to their favourite foods (Dad was a picky eater!), provided Mom with a shoulder to cry on as well as professional grief support and a nurse even played guitar in the room so Mom and Dad could dance. We are fortunate to have an amazing local hospital but these are things that were only possible at Hospice.

As Dad’s health continued to decline, Mom had an increasingly hard time. One day, Mom couldn’t catch her breath – Hospice nurses called an ambulance for her and took care of her until she was taken to hospital to be treated. About a week later Mom was rushed to hospital from home when she suffered cardiac arrest and was put on life support with stress cardiomyopathy, also known as Broken Heart Syndrome.

After making the decision to take her off of life support, our family felt raw as we gathered at the hospital, held each other tight and said our goodbyes. My father’s heart was broken. The following day, Dad was a little less responsive. The morning after that, he told us he had had a conversation with Mom and felt ready to go; he died 15 minutes later.
You never know what the future holds and we had no idea that this is how our parents’ story would unfold. What we do know is that we’re forever grateful to Hospice Peterborough for being so loving, kind and thoughtful with our whole family and for treating Mom and Dad with such respect, compassion and empathy.

In gratitude, we used our family business RoadSide Greetings and Designs as a fundraiser this year and raised funds so Hospice can keep offering all of its programs and services free of charge whether it’s the end-of-life residence, grief counselling, day groups or community education.

In this season of giving, we ask that you please join us today by making your own donation.

Let’s make sure Hospice Peterborough’s expertise, compassion and care are there for all local families when they need it most.

All the best to you and yours,

Rich Sherri Kim

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COVID-19 Response Plan – Hospice Peterborough

We would like to inform you of Hospice Peterborough’s plans to respond to the risks associated with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

We have developed a 4-level response plan that takes into account escalating risks and contingency precautions to limit the infection of this virus. At all times, we are being guided by the expert advice being provided by local, provincial, and national public health authorities and Hospice Palliative Care Ontario and will continue to monitor and assess next steps and precautions in the coming days and weeks.

The health and safety of clients, residents, family members, volunteers, staff, partners, and community members is our top priority. We are committed to support efforts to minimize the spread of the virus through increased screening and limiting person to person contact especially around people with already complex medical conditions.  

Naturally, we appreciate the implications and concerns this places on all aspects of our organization and our stakeholders.

Effective immediately until further notice:

  • We have cancelled all community groups, volunteer supports, presentations, and meetings.
  • We are asking people NOT to come to our building unless their visit is essential.
  • We are limiting visiting hours for our Hospice Residence. 9am-6pm on weekends and 11am-7pm on Weekdays (subject to change).
  • We are actively screening everyone who enters our building.
  • We have postponed our April 25th Gala and May 3rd Hike for Hospice events until the fall 2020.

Please follow the guidelines and precautions outline by the Peterborough Public Health Unit (705-743-1000 x 401) or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) for more information/direction.

Hospice Peterborough remains committed to its mission in supporting individuals and families at end of life, through life-threatening illness and grief. We will monitor and adapt as the COVID-19 outbreak evolves. Please check our website for updated information.

We appreciate your patience and understanding, and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Sincerely,

Hajni Signature

Hajni Hos, Executive Director