A Place of Healing
Diane Morrison Hospice
At first glance, the proposition of a place of healing and palliative care might seem like a contradiction, but at the Diane Morrison Hospice at The Ottawa Mission, patients experience both.
It was twenty years ago while trying to care for a long-term shelter client who suffered from addictions and who was also dying of AIDS, that The Mission realized the need for specialized hospice care for their clients.
It is common for people who are homeless to suffer from complex health and psychosocial conditions that make it difficult for them to access care in a traditional setting. The Diane Morrison Hospice has created a safe and appropriate space to provide palliative care for their clients and others unable to access mainstream care when diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. It was the first facility of its kind in North America when it opened in 2001 and today provides 21 palliative beds.
The Hospice’s guiding principal is unconditional acceptance. The staff, medical team and volunteers create a compassionate circle of care where their vulnerable patients find treatment, community and belonging. The Palliative Care Team work with their patients to develop an individual holistic care plan that addresses the whole person and might include access to a Managed Alcohol Program, help to reunite with family or, spiritual care depending on individual needs.
The Hospice spreads over two floors: the chronic palliative care floor treats patients with a life expectancy of one year, while the acute care floor treats patients with a life expectancy of three months or less. With specialized care, proper nutrition and other supports, some chronic patients recover sufficiently to no longer need hospice care. They can return to where they were living before or in new accommodation.
“It’s so nice here, so well kept. The staff here are angels. They look after everything.” Suzanne, a Diane Morrison Hospice patient.
For many though, Diane Morrison is their last home. The hallways are quiet, the walls are decorated with artwork and patients have their personal effects with them in their room. The comprehensive physical, emotional and spiritual care patients receive can bring both healing and peace. At the Hospice, patients can live out their final days in comfort, surrounded by their chosen family and their circle of care.
This past May, thanks to our generous donors, OutCare provided the Hospice with a grant for the purchase of a high-low hospital bed and a portable oxygen concentrator. It is rewarding that we can help the Diane Morrison Hospice deliver excellent palliative care to an underserved community. It’s what so many of us are hoping for when our time comes: to spend our final days at home, at peace and with dignity.
For more information on the Diane Morrison Hospice, visit OttawaMission.com