Success Stories

A Day Away @ Beth Donovan Hospice

Day hospices programs are an important component of in-home palliative care. Caregivers get much-needed respite and individuals facing a life-limiting illness receive support from hospice staff and volunteers while enjoying social interactions with their peers.

At Beth Donovan Hospice in Kemptville, a typical day includes a hot lunch and therapeutic activities such as arts & craft, journaling or dance movement therapy. Under the leadership of a registered nurse assisted by trained volunteers, day hospice clients can acknowledge and explore their palliative journey in a supportive environment.

Conversations arise organically as staff might ask about the meaning of a client’s art creation, memories sparked by music, or simply between participants as they chat over coffee. Participants can speak fully of their life – to talk about dying as well as hopes and experiences – confident that hospice is a safe and compassionate space for expression. Where appropriate, the counsellor can provide additional support on an individual basis.

“We are both life affirming and death affirming. By meeting and walking with clients and caregivers where they are, clients and caregivers can relax and fully explore their joyful emotions as well as the more challenging ones including anger, frustration, worry, and guilt,” explains Melissa Hill RN BN, Manager of Clinical Services, Beth Donovan Hospice.

A popular practice is creating joy lists. Staff and clients explore and share what brings joy to their life, past experiences that they might want to revisit, and dreams they hope to realize. One participant’s wish to visit Tuscany became the impetus for Italian Day.

On Italian Day, hospice participants got crafty making grapevine centerpieces that light up. Lunch was a delicious pasta dish served with crusty bread and wine tasting. Tasting notes proved that dealcoholized wine can be good! Finally, everyone enjoyed a virtual tour of a Tuscan village and vineyard. While most watched the tour displayed on a flat screen, the client who suggested the Tuscany visit got to go deeper by experiencing Tuscany using virtual reality.

OutCare is proud to support Beth Donovan Hospice and other the Champlain Health Region Hospices to help clients live their best life. Whether by creating a Virtual Reality Pilot, funding Comfort Kits for clients receiving care at home, or providing grants to install hospital beds at a client’s home, OutCare works to advance palliative care and improve quality of life.