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Beth Donovan (1943 - 2010)

My journey to hospice began many years ago. As a new grad from Brockville General Hospital in 1963 I started my nursing Career in the Operating and  Recovery room of St Francis General Hospital in Smiths Falls. I never in my wildest imagination would have believed I would end my career in Hospice Palliative Care which was unheard of in those days.

Beth Donovan 2On slow days in the Operating Room I would go to either Maternity Floor or Surgical Floor to work to keep up my skills as a bedside nurse. I would be so troubled to hear my terminal patients plead to be allowed to go home to die.

From Operating and Recovery Room I went to The Stepping Stone Nursing Home because with small children it was impossible to be on call for long surgical procedures. Terminal patients at the Nursing Home always were sent to hospital to die and once again I saw people beg to stay home for their final days on this earth. At that time I promised myself that if I ever had the chance to do something to help grant a person’s wish to be at home or in a home-like setting to die I would do it.

The opportunity arose in early 1994. A very dear friend of mine, and later a client, called and told me about an advertisement for Volunteer Coordinator of Volunteers for the Merrickville Community Hospice. I applied and was hired on January the 19th. My promise of a salary within 3 months turned into a year and I nearly kissed the feet of the Treasurer when she handed me my first cheque. I was going to frame it but the RBC had other ideas.

We have had three locations and four names. It was a great honour and a humbling experience to have the Board of Director’s name the Hospice after me in 2007. The journey has been extremely trying and rewarding. The gratification that comes from traveling through the last stages of life with a client and their family is tremendous. It is very much an honour for us to be allowed to journey with them. The programs we offer for support through diagnosis and treatment and our bereavement program are well received in the community.

A needs study was done in 1992/93 that showed that there was a tremendous need for a 10-bed Residential Hospice in the area. Plans were made to have one erected within three years. It has been a very long three years and the need is much greater now. The decision to erect a 10 bed hospice comes at a time when health care costs are skyrocketing. The need for the facility increases every day. The savings to the health care system from a stay in a Residential Hospice as opposed to a stay in Hospital are remarkable. This is a very exciting time and the fulfillment of a long time dream. This building will also accommodate our Home Visiting Program and so transition from one service to the other will be smoother.

I look forward with anticipation to the day we open our doors. Our clients now must go to Ottawa for the service we will provide. I see no reason why the persons living in our service area do not deserve the same level of care as people in other areas of the province. With our taxes we pay for this service in other areas of the province. It is now our turn.

Upcoming Events

26 Sep 2019
10:00AM - 03:00PM
Day Hospice Program


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1107 French Settlement Road,
Kemptville, ON, K0G1J0 

Phone: 613.258.9611
Fax: 613.258.9651
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