“I want to say how proud I am, that everyone—our Nurse Coordinator, Visiting Volunteers, and Board of Directors—have adjusted and rallied so quickly to help us provide comfort, compassion, and support in our community.”

— Nancy Deschenes, Chair

One of Home Hospice North Lanark’s (HHNL) main goals is to be an active part of our compassionate community. These are not just empty words.

Our community is facing a crisis unlike anything we have faced before. But amongst unprecedented sadness and difficult rules that must be followed the people of Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place rolled up their sleeves and got to work. First and foremost are the front-line workers in our long-term care homes and hospitals, the support staff in those institutions, those in essential businesses who provide the necessities, and our leaders who have been tasked with making difficult decisions in an effort to protect us all. We thank you and applaud your courage and dedication. And to all of you who are supporting others in various ways — helping seniors or vulnerable people get groceries, reaching out by phone to someone who may be alone, making face masks for donation to those who need them, we see you and we thank you, too.

Providing Support to Our Clients

HHNL is making every effort to continue to offer our services. To find oneself in an unexpected time of isolation in the face of a global pandemic, when already facing a life-limiting illness or devastating loss, can be particularly frightening.

Our model of visiting clients in their homes has had to change. Our RNs and Visiting Volunteers made this transition on March 13. Support to our clients and families is now offered via regular phone calls. While the method of delivery has changed, our volunteers continue to offer a gentle presence, someone who listens and provides companionship, albeit from a safe distance.

Grief does not take a break at times like this. If anything, it is magnified. Removing most of the typical supports that one is usually offered during their grief journey makes it even more difficult. So, we do our best to offer our bereavement support by phone. We are happy to know that our past bereavement group members are supporting each other through phone calls and emails as well.

We have also added links on our website (hhnl.ca) to resources that may ease some of the burden for people in these trying times.

Finding Other Ways to Contribute

Spring traditionally brings with it our largest fundraising events. To protect our community and to comply with legislative and public health safety measures, we postponed the Hike for Hospice to October 4, 2020, in the hopes that we will be able to proceed with this signature event at that time. We look forward to seeing our friends and supporters this fall. We also cancelled plans for a Rain Barrel fundraiser for this year.

The HHNL tree sale is proceeding since most of the trees were sold prior to the arrival of COVID-19. We are working to design a delivery method that aligns with provincial and municipal safety measures, and will be in touch with each individual customer to make arrangements.

While the need to cancel fundraisers has caused some concern — we are 100% funded through donations and targeted fundraising initiatives — the greater concern is for the people in our community, in particular our front-line workers. The Board shifted its energy to coordinating an effort to provide food to as many of these people as possible. HHNL Board Members decided to pool our own financial resources along with donations received from community partners and a network of friends who wanted to chip in.

To date we have donated food as follows:

  • We have delivered wrapped sandwiches to Almonte Country Haven (twice), Carleton Place Hospital, and Stoneridge Manor in Carleton Place;
  • We delivered a cheque from Neilcorp Construction to Mama’s Restaurant so that Almonte Country Haven staff can order in food;
  • We delivered a cheque from the Almonte Legion to Baker Bob’s in Almonte to provide food for Almonte General Hospital/Fairview Manor;
  • Over the next few weeks, Almonte Paramedics and Orchard View by the Mississippi will be receiving food for staff, thanks in part to a generous donation from The Community Presbyterian Church.

All food was wrapped in such a way as to adhere to Ministry of Health Guidelines. We will continue to find ways to help, as we have no idea right now how long this situation will continue.

A big thank you goes out to all of our community partners, Board Members of HHNL and the network of friends who so generously gave donations to make this possible.

Stay safe and healthy. Together we will get through this crisis.