After closing the doors of the historic Norwood Masonic Lodge, members have donated $10,000 to Hospice Peterborough from the sale of the building.
“We are incredibly touched that Norwood Masons have thought of Hospice Peterborough at this time and thank them for this meaningful gift,” says Hospice Peterborough Executive Director Hajni Hős. “We will ensure this gift is used to provide our accredited palliative and bereavement services to local residents in need and we will honor the Norwood Masons for their incredible generosity on our Donor Wall.”
The historic lodge has existed since 1870 and was housed in a former Pentecostal church. The Norwood Masons purchased the building about 40 years ago and turned it into a lodge where the membership would hold meetings and gatherings, says senior member Doug Pearcy.
Since the start of the pandemic, Mr. Pearcy says, the building has been largely vacant and it became unfeasible to maintain so the membership made the difficult decision to sell in October 2021. Under the group’s charter, all proceeds must be used for charitable purposes and the Masons are also donating to other local non-profits including Brock Mission, Crossroads Women’s Shelter, the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, the Peterborough Humane Society, the New Canadians Centre, Hospice Norwood, local food banks, the Five Counties Children’s Centre, Campbellford Memorial Hospital and The Bridge Hospice in Warkworth.
“The legacy of the Norwood Masons will live on through these gifts that we hope will continue to improve our local communities,” Mr. Pearcy says. “We are glad we can contribute to the good work of Hospice Peterborough in helping so many people through life-threatening illness and end-of-life care.”
Hospice Peterborough highlights responses for annual volunteer survey during National Volunteer Week April 24-30
Our volunteers are amazing.
Despite the pandemic forcing many volunteers to stay home and away from the Hospice Peterborough building, many have continued to stay engaged because they believe so strongly in our mission of enhancing the comfort, dignity and quality of life of individuals and families living with or affected by life-threatening illness or grief.
We thank those who recently took the time to complete our annual volunteer survey, which was completed at the end of March and provides valuable input that we take into consideration in day-to-day decision making and program development.
“As it’s National Volunteer Week, we thought there was no better time to share some highlights from the survey results and, once again, thank our wonderful volunteers for continuing to be the heart of Hospice,” says Carolyn Parkes, Volunteer Services Lead at Hospice Peterborough.
Throughout the pandemic, volunteers have engaged both virtually and, when restrictions permitted, in-person such as greeting visitors at the reception desk or offering friendly bedside visits in the Residence. Volunteers have also supported clients by phone and with client and bereavement groups that have been meeting virtually.
Organizationally, volunteers have kept Hospice running by serving on the Board and committees as well as helping with tasks such as weeding and watering our gardens, trainings and meetings. Many have also continued to help Hospice fundraise by participating in the Hike Your Way event and by talking about Hospice to friends and neighbours who in turn donated to Hospice.
Through the survey we learned that almost all respondents (95%) felt Hospice Peterborough continued to engage and support them throughout the pandemic through various methods including the Highlighter newsletter, emails, podcasts, Mindful Nourishment meditation, social media and online meetings.
One volunteer stated, “(I) so very much appreciate the support of my Hospice family.”
When asked how satisfied they were with their experience at Hospice before and during COVID, comments included feelings of being ‘well-oriented’ and ‘welcomed,’ while calling Hospice Peterborough a ‘special and caring place.’
One volunteer went as far as to say: “Most valuable volunteer opportunity I have ever had.’
Thanks to all Hospice our amazing volunteers, past and present; we truly couldn’t do it without you.
During National Volunteer Week (April 24 to 30), Gisele Lalonde – one of hundreds of our cherished volunteers – discusses the impact of supporting local women in their palliative journeys
When Gisele Lalonde started volunteering with Hospice Peterborough more than a decade ago, she thought that her role in supporting local women through their palliative journeys would be primarily one of giving her time and energy. Little did she know that she would receive so much.
Gisele says that whether she is sitting at a client’s bedside, serving lunch at the Day Hospice program or offering meditation to program participants over Zoom, she often finds that these unique opportunities encourage her to be more present in her own life.
“It has slowed me down and made me more appreciative of every day,” she says. “It’s hard to describe, and there may be no English word for it, but it feels like my experience with Hospice Peterborough has expanded my awareness of living, ageing, grief and joy. It has certainly made life more poignant.”
Gisele is one of hundreds of Hospice Peterborough volunteers who support our mission of enhancing the comfort, dignity and quality of life of people living with or affected by life-threatening illness or grief. During National Volunteer Week, April 24-30, Hospice Peterborough is sending a special thank-you to each and every one of our volunteers.
For Gisele, the experience over the years has been profound and, to her, the Hospice Community has become a vital and valued connection.
The retired Community Development Worker says she first started volunteering with the Client Support Program, where she met with local women in their homes to listen to their stories throughout their end-of-life journey. She also met with family members and caregivers who appreciated the respite that the Hospice program provided.
Currently, she volunteers with the Day Hospice Women’s Group, led by a staff member. Prior to COVID she met with the women in person at the Hospice building and also helped serving lunch. The meetings could be intense and emotional, she says, but could also be full of joy and laughter.
During the first wave of COVID, she thought her volunteer days might be over but was amazed at how quickly Hospice Peterborough pivoted the women’s group to a virtual platform, allowing for continued connection and support.
“It is such a privilege to continue to bear witness to their journey and also participate in the happiness of good news such as positive test results, a trip, or a new grandchild,” she says. “The meetings are peppered with every emotion: laughter, grief, anger, frustration, love and joy. I feel ‘full’ to be a part of it all”
Gisele continues to offer a meditation to open the Zoom meetings, provides updates to the group and supports special events such as crafting together online during the holidays.
When the pandemic ends, she’d like to further support Hospice by possibly becoming a Grief Companion.
While Hospice Peterborough thanks her and all volunteers for their vital support, Gisele says she is the one who is thankful. “I feel so fortunate,” she says, “to be a part of an organization that offers such a caring and supportive environment.”
Chrystine Somerville shares her experience of the women’s support group and says the Hospice Peterborough program has been a ‘godsend’
After being diagnosed with cancer and moving with her husband to Young’s Point for retirement, Chrystine Somerville knew very few people, didn’t know the area and had little knowledge about what local health supports were available, especially in the middle of a pandemic.
When she heard that Hospice Peterborough was offering a virtual women’s support group, for those with a terminal illness, she decided to give it a try and says she knew from the very first minute of the meeting that she had found “the right place to be.”
Known as Day Hospice, this program offers a professional facilitator to guide women’s and men’s groups through the journey of living with a terminal diagnosis. It is often a lifeline for participants by offering support, advocacy and healthcare navigation services during what can be the participants’ most difficult stage of life. The group often opens with a guided meditation and then offers the chance to share updates, ask for advice or simply sit and listen. Participants often brainstorm about how others manage their illness, medication, family issues, physical and emotional pain and COVID-19, all while supporting each other.
Clients learn from each other, support each other and also learn new and practical methods of coping with their illness including self-care, dietary needs and managing anxiety.
For the past nine years, Kawartha Credit Union has generously funded Day Hospice and, like all of Hospice’s programs and services, there is never a fee for participants to join.
Before COVID-19, the groups used to meet in person once per week, followed by a shared lunch. As of March 2020, however, Hospice Peterborough immediately pivoted to a Zoom platform – never missing a weekly session – to continue supporting clients at a time when traditional support from family and friends has been severely limited.
For people like Chrystine, that means that throughout an unprecedented time of isolation and social distancing, she has made friends, felt supported and learned more about her medical condition, all without ever setting foot in the Hospice Peterborough building.
“I’d still like to get in there one day!” she says with a laugh.
Chrystine says the most important thing to know is that the groups are far from “doom and gloom.” While all participants understand the realities of each other’s conditions and often lean on each other in times of sadness, she says the energy is one of “loving and caring” with room for laughter, jokes, hopeful stories, family news and, perhaps most importantly, unconditional support with no judgement.
As COVID-19 restrictions ease, she and other participants have been able to safely meet outside of the group for lunch and small social gatherings.
“Having said that, it’s not a coffee club,” Chrystine adds. “We are all dealing with a terminal illness and it’s very comforting to be able to be there for one another unconditionally.”
Chrystine says she’s thankful for the program, which can also direct participants to other Hospice programs and services such as a supportive care counsellor. She’s also overwhelmed that this service has no fee, thanks to generous community donations from businesses such as the Kawartha Credit Union as well as individuals.
“I am just so grateful,” she says. “Hospice Peterborough is on my gratitude list every day.”
Based on new instructions from Peterborough Public Health, Hospice Peterborough is immediately instituting new COVID-19 protocols to keep our clients, families, staff and volunteers safe.
All non-essential staff will return to working remotely. Group bereavement and palliative programs will continue but will be held virtually. The palliative care community team will continue to see people either in person or via phone sessions, at their discretion.
Our residence will continue to function at 10-bed capacity but this could change at any time. Visitors will be limited to 2 or 3 at a time. Sadly, family gatherings in the building can not happen until Peterborough Public Health lifts current guidelines.
Likewise, our committed volunteers will be asked to take a break from duties at our London Street location until it’s safe to resume and staff will assume reception responsibilities. Their help and presence will be greatly missed and we hope to have volunteers back working with us soon.
Everyone entering the building will continue to be required to wear a fresh medical-grade mask, provided by Hospice Peterborough, and show proof of a second vaccine dose. For those unvaccinated, Hospice Peterborough requires an on-site rapid-antigen test. Further protocols may be announced in coming days.
Hospice Peterborough continues to monitor all new and emerging pandemic information daily while our Outbreak Management Team continues to meet weekly to respond to Ministry of Health and our local health unit directives.
Rest assured that, despite the twists and turns, our focus will always be providing our important programs and services to individuals and families coping with life-limiting illness and grief.
Thank you to our community for the incredible patience and support you have shown us throughout this challenging time.
Hospice Peterborough is now officially accredited through Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO) with a near-perfect score. The accreditation, with a 98.67% score, offers a ‘stamp of approval’ signifying to clients, health professionals, community members and funders that it meets the highest standards for the delivery of consistent, quality service and care and is committed to continual learning and improvement.
“It is with much pride that I sincerely thank our incredible team of staff, board members and volunteers who have all worked so hard – on top of day-to-day duties – to make our dream of accreditation a reality,” says Hospice Peterborough executive director Hajni Hős. “We have demonstrated to healthcare peers that we consistently deliver outstanding care to the community with professionalism and compassion.”
The process involved a vigorous and comprehensive 18-month review of the residence, community programs, services and professional standards including everything from fiscal responsibility to resident safety to professional development for staff. Out of 134 hospice sites across the province, 35 currently hold HPCO accreditation.
Past executive director Linda Sunderland started the accreditation process, before the new building and residence were built on London Street, to ensure all operations were in line with industry standards and best practices.
The process also reviewed aspects such as governance, quality assurance, client care, fundraising and volunteer management. HPCO reviewed, for example, how Hospice Peterborough develops care plans for residents as well as emergency-response plans, volunteer safety and whether the organization is publicly transparent with fundraised dollars.
“Best practices are always evolving and we will never stop looking to learn and improve as an organization and a team,” Hős adds .
Accreditation requires ongoing compliance, with regular interim reports, and must be renewed every three years.
*Please call Hospice Peterborough 705-742-4042 for most up to date information*
As the pandemic progresses, Hospice Peterborough continues to monitor new and emerging information daily while our Outbreak Management Team continues to meet weekly to respond, as needed, in order to keep our residents, volunteers, staff and community safe.
We are once again functioning at 10-bed capacity while following all required Peterborough Public Health directives and provincial guidelines.
As it now stands, anyone entering the building is required to wear a medical-grade mask and show proof of a second vaccine dose. For those unvaccinated, Hospice Peterborough requires an on-site rapid-antigen test.
Community staff have resumed working in the building although some continue to work part-time from home, depending on their roles, and many meetings continue to be held over Zoom.
Many programs continue in a virtual setting, although some groups are meeting in-person with proper safety precautions in place and heightened disinfection.
The Palliative Care Community Team continues with online and phone meetings with the possibility of some in-person sessions taking place in the Hospice building.
We are thrilled to have many volunteers back in the building to lend their time, hearts and expertise to our care.
We are aware that all this could change at a moment’s notice based on new variants, increased local cases or changing directives from the province.
But for now, with help from our community, we are focused on doing what we have done since the start of this pandemic: Providing our important programs and services to individuals and families devastated by death, terminal illness and grief.
Thank you to our community for the incredible patience and support you have shown us throughout this challenging time.
We are so grateful.
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