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.

Mission Vision Core Values Link photo

Mission, Vision & Core Values

Bringing hope and healing to the community through compassionate ... 


Our History link photo

Our History

Beginning in the Merrickville St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church’s spacious ... 


Day Hospice link photo

Day Hospice

The Day Program is offered to a small group of clients with a life threatening ... 


Home Visiting link photo

Home Visiting

In-Home Volunteers provide emotional support and companionship while ... 


Volunteer link Photo

Become a Volunteer

Beth Donovan Hospice relies on the generous support of volunteers in the ...


Grief and Bereavement Support link photo

Grief & Bereavement Support

The counselling services offered at Beth Donovan Hospice includes the ...


Upcoming Events

24 Jan 2019
10:00AM - 03:00PM
Day Hospice Program

26 Jan 2019
01:00PM - 04:00PM
Let's ART About Grief

06 Feb 2019
10:00AM - 03:00PM
Volunteer Training

19 Feb 2019
01:00PM - 03:00PM
Caregivers Coffee

Latest News


  • “I like it here. I feel like part of the group. I like playing cards.”
  • “’Thank you’ just seems inadequate for the group of people that are Beth Donovan Hospice as an organization. You not only gave Joanie a chance for dignity and respect but you gave her, myself and the kids the greatest gift of all; your support granted her wish to live, and I do mean live, her final moments at home surrounded by love and laughter.”

  • “A much needed and appreciated community service. Thank you.”
  • “The hospice does very important work in our community …..thank you for being there and extending your help and compassion at this difficult time”
  • “There were still things to get organized: I needed assistive devices in the home and had no idea how or where I was going to find them let alone the funds. Once again there they were, “What do you need, let’s check and see what we have”; Raised toilet seat, bed rail, wedge pillow, and volunteer driver they were there every step. Once we got home our needs changed quickly; we now needed a commode and wheelchair. I panicked … one frantic text to our Home Visiting volunteer and one phone call to Beth Donovan Hospice and 2 hours later we were equipped for the weekend and the next chapter in this journey.”

Volunteer Share

  • “Being a hospice volunteer is an amazingly rewarding experience. Being able to give comfort and support to families while they are facing a very difficult time, or being able to give them a few hours a week even just to sit and chat, can mean so much to them. I am proud to be part of this wonderful organization and have formed lasting friendships with other volunteers as well as the staff.”

    Sandra Mackenzie, Home-Visiting Volunteer

  • “When I lost my mother and mother-in-law, the hospice and palliative care they received meant the world to us. I knew then it was my volunteer calling. Weighed against other volunteer experiences, this is by far the most meaningful for me. When it comes to end-of-life, we can’t fix the situation or alter the course, but we can make the journey a little better along the way. To ‘make the best day possible’ for clients and their families, that’s my hope.”

    Daryl Webber, Home-Visiting Volunteer


  • "Our Joanie" - a special thank you
    Dear Staff and volunteers of Beth Donovan Hospice, Kemptville, ON   I have been lamenting on how I am going to write this “thank you”…
All Stories


1107 French Settlement Road,
Kemptville, ON, K0G1J0 

Phone: 613.258.9611
Fax: 613.258.9651
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