by Sue Walker, Executive Director, Beth Donovan Hospice
On March 12, the Beth Donovan Hospice held its last in-person day of the Day Hospice program, and the next day locked its doors to the public due to COVID19. However, this did not mean that programs and services came to a halt, quite the contrary in fact. The next week, plans were in place to have the bereavement counsellor do phone sessions and video counselling online via Zoom, the volunteers that were doing In-Home visiting were all converted to calling clients a minimum of once per week to ensure their safety and combat isolation, and medical equipment continued to be lent to those in need via outdoor pick up.
Perhaps most impressive of all, was that the staff behind the locked doors shifted to preparing hot meals, once per week, for all of the Day Hospice clients, and having volunteers deliver them to clients’ doors. Many of these clients live alone or with an elderly spouse/ caregiver, and do not always get a hot meal, so they were truly grateful to know that, each week, they would receive one. Also included in the weekly deliveries are activities for the clients to do to combat boredom and to keep them engaged with the other clients and volunteers. The volunteers delivering the meals were also doing wellness checks on clients living alone to ensure their safety. This will continue until the clients can return to the in person program later in the year.
The hospice also worked with the Knights of Columbus to identify clients in need of grocery deliveries. It was so inspiring to see so many people work together to help others. Two volunteers contacted the hospice and began making masks for the staff, clients, and the volunteers to wear, and they continue to make more to ensure an adequate supply. The Outcare Foundation funded an industrial steamer to clean returned medical equipment to ensure supplies remained intact, and also to ensure the safety of anyone borrowing.
Ongoing training for volunteers has continued via Zoom for the past six weeks, including coping techniques, safety measures, art therapy, and body mechanics. The community of North Grenville has, once again, shown how amazing and giving it is, and, especially during these trying times, to support those who need it the most.