“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”
– Margaret J. Wheatley
We are fortunate to live in a part of the world where there is still a strong tradition of neighbours looking out for each other. One example of that tradition began in early 2012, when members of Almonte Community Coordinators (The Hub) recognized that a home-based palliative care support service was lacking in the Almonte area. By October 2012, a steering committee had raised over $100,000 and, shortly thereafter, a Registered Nurse had been hired to initiate the development of the program. The new organization, separately incorporated in March 2013, was named Hub Hospice Palliative Care. As the organization evolved, their mission became clear:
We seek to ensure that individuals and their caregivers are well supported through the end-of-life experience; and that, where possible and when the individual so wishes, is able to die at home. We believe that palliative support of those dying, and their caregivers, is an integral part of a healthy community life.
Over time the area served has expanded to include clients within North Lanark, including Almonte, Carleton Place, Pakenham, Clayton, Blakeney, Appleton and the surrounding areas. Furthermore, “home” now truly encompasses wherever the client lives. This can, and does, include long-term care homes and hospitals as needs and resources allow.
To reflect the growth of the organization and the expansion of services a new name was selected in the fall of 2019: Home Hospice North Lanark (HHNL). Our services include:
- Visiting volunteers—over twenty well-trained volunteers visit with clients, under the direction of two part-time registered nurses.
- Bereavement Support
- Advance Care Planning
The organization, which continues to be governed by a 12-person board of directors, now under the direction of Nancy Deschenes, remains committed to carrying out their mission to support those with an advanced, progressive illness and their caregivers.
[We] have spent the last several years thinking beyond the physical needs and getting to know the spirit of each person [we] visit. It is in the spirit that the beauty of life remains even at the end of life’s journey.
—Visiting Volunteer Coordinator, Allison Griffith