Michael Waite Q.C., Chair, Partner, Carbert Waite LLP Angela Butler, Treasurer, VP, TMO Process & Data, Suncor Energy Inc. Gordon Dibb, Secretary, Retired Co-founder, Calfrac Well Services Kevin Barr, Past Chair, Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP Bill Brunton, Principal, BBrunton Consulting Debra Corroll, President, DLC Consulting Ryan Hall, Creative Services Lead, B&A Planning Group Carol Howes, VP, Communications & PetroLMI, Energy Safety Canada Derek Payne, CA, Independent Businessperson Sheila Risbud, Director, Government Affairs, Teck Resources Ltd. Julie Thomson, Director of Finance, Calgary French & International School
Technology is no longer a ?nice to have? or a capital expense budgeted every 5-10 years. In fact, it’s hard to separate it from anything we do on a daily basis. At Hospice Calgary, we?ve fully embraced technology and recognize its value. It breaks down barriers, improves communication, generates awareness, and inspires giving.
At Rosedale Hospice, an electronic key pad secures our nursing station, a complex control board operates the boilers, Netcare allows the patient care team access to Alberta Health Services? records system, and a server connects the computer network to our main offices. At Sage Centre and Children’s Grief Centre, we have donor, client, and volunteer databases, a computer network infrastructure that allows for onsite and remote work, equipment for video-conferencing and distance education, tablets for survey administration, and a point-of-sales system to process donations and client fees.
Understanding the value and importance of technology has positioned Hospice Calgary well. Several years ago, we developed a technology strategy because we recognized we?d need a solid structural foundation from which to better meet community needs. Having this in place has helped us work with donors to build the foundation and grow from it. It enabled us to adapt and respond quickly when the pandemic hit to ensure we continue to be here for those who need us in the days, weeks, and months to come. We were able to quickly transition staff that work at our S.E. offices to work remotely almost immediately when Calgary shut down in March.
Our new phone system installed in January allows staff to make and receive calls from wherever they are working while also connecting them with their teams through instant messaging capabilities. Within a month, counselling and group programs were available to our clients via video-conferencing using Zoom Telehealth. Our virtual classroom allowed us to continue offering our Dying to Know education series where people can register for a workshop from wherever they are in the world! In fact, when the Dying to Know sessions went virtual, our attendance for the workshops increased.
We continue to work hard with our IT services provider to have the adaptive capacity to best meet our clients? needs in these changing times.
Local photographer, David Kotsibie of Persuasion Photography, has been volunteering with Hospice Calgary for just over four years. He is the man behind the camera capturing all of the smiles at Sage Soiree, and he has been involved with various photography projects during his time with us. According to David, his work with Hospice Calgary is his, ?most fulfilling volunteer opportunity.?
When the staff at Rosedale were required to begin wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during their day-to-day work, they were understandably concerned about the impact this would have on their patient relationships. David understands the implications of the pandemic on patient care better than most. His father moved from hospital to a long-term care facility at the height of the pandemic, and to-date, he has been unable to visit his dad.
When the idea came forward to celebrate Rosedale staff through photographs, David quickly stepped up to offer his services. Each staff member now has their photo on a lanyard around their neck, and we have lovely team pictures to display throughout the hospice. Even though our patients and families can not see the smiling faces behind the masks, they know who is a part of their care team. They can see the compassion we have for their journey through the care they receive and through David’s pictures.
Plato said, ?Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.? Over the past few months we have been blessed with talented musicians and singers offering their music to ?give flight to the imagination? for our patients, families, and staff at Rosedale Hospice.
From a quartet of recorders, to guitars, violins, and a capella, beautiful sounds have drifted up to the patients rooms.
The gift of music will be treasured by all who heard it and our memory of it will make us smile.
A huge thank you to the following musicians: Double Standard; Neal Janewski; Nicole Kuchle; Six by Six; Fresh Aire Trio; Sonabelles A Cappella; Hannah and Leanne Cripps; Heather Bensler; and Amanda, Renea and Toby Klager.
The Living With Cancer Program volunteers are part of a weekly, year-round group that provides support to adults and their caregivers who are facing the challenges of living well with advanced cancer.
The Government of Alberta has recognized the invaluable support the Living With Cancer Program volunteers are providing throughout the pandemic. As such, they recognized them with through the Alberta Northern Lights Volunteer Recognition this past June. This program was developed to, ?Honour the everyday heroes who help to make life better across our province.? We certainly support this recognition, and we are lucky to have these heroes on our team.
The Living with Cancer Program, in normal times, provides a consistent opportunity for participants to connect in-person with others and share grief, laughter, and stories.
When COVID-19 struck, life for our program participants changed considerably. Because of the pandemic, many are required to self-isolate and distance themselves from the support network that they so rely on.
Our program volunteers quickly realized they needed to reach out to participants in a new way, and they were eager to help in whatever way they could.
Eleven volunteers now make weekly calls to participants to check in on them. These calls are extremely important to program participants who are living with the stress of cancer, isolation, and managing their risk of contracting COVID-19. Now, more than ever, they depend on the volunteers to reach out and bring the community to them. These calls remind program participants that although they cannot meet as a group, they are not forgotten as individuals.
This November we would typically gather in-person to celebrate Sage Soiree. This year, we are going to forgo the in-person gathering, and instead, we will offer stakeholders the chance to get a unique glimpse of our services from the comfort of your own home.
On November 19, 2020, we will host Behind The Scenes with Hospice Calgary.
This online event will give you a chance to hear from clients who have been personally impacted by our services. This event will have a free option or a ticketed price that includes a special wine/tea and dessert package that will be delivered directly to your door.
COVID-19 has shifted the way many live their day-to-day lives, especially those who require hospice care.
At Rosedale Hospice, our patients are extremely vulnerable to infection, and they want to spend their final days, weeks, and months with those that they love the most by their side. It is our job to protect each visitor, patient, and staff who enter the doors of Rosedale Hospice. These days, that is an extremely challenging job
The costs at Rosedale Hospice have significantly increased as a result of the new and necessary precautions to ensure the safety of everyone that walks through our doors.
In March, as things changed rapidly in response to COVID-19, the Calgary Foundation stepped in to respond to the changing community need. They quickly established the Calgary Foundation’s Pandemic Recovery Fund and set up live webinars to guide charities through the process to apply. This foundation truly understands that the charitable sector is under immense pressure and have proven that they are here to help us through it. We are extremely grateful that Rosedale Hospice was awarded $30,000 through this granting program.
?Through the Pandemic Recovery Program, the Calgary Foundation is honoured to support organizations like Hospice Calgary? hearing the stories of the thoughtful care they bring to their work is what makes OUR work truly meaningful. As our valued partner, the Foundation looks forward to future opportunities to support Hospice Calgary to achieve our shared vision of building a compassionate, respectful and inclusive community.?
Marketing has always been a challenging area for the not-for-profit sector. You want to ensure both clients and donors know about your services, but you need to be extremely mindful of your budget.
When we began the launch plans for our Children’s Grief Centre Text and Chat Online Services in March, we expected that many referrals would come through our community schools. Suddenly, we found ourselves launching a new program right in the middle of school closures. Our primary source of referrals was gone, but the grief experienced by families was not.
Vance Macdonald of Leading Outdoor Advertising did not even hesitate when we reached out for help. At a time of struggle for many local businesses, Leading Outdoor Advertising was more than happy to help us spread the word about our new online services. To date, Leading Outdoor Advertising has provided us with seven months of advertising space on their LED boards housed on major roads throughout the city.
Supporting charities is an integral part of Leading Outdoor Advertising mandate. Vance is personally a big supporter of charities that help children and he shared with us his belief that, ?Children are the most vulnerable and important part of our Society.?
In March, we asked for your help with regard to a new initiative’the development of an Alumni Champions Project. The project research has been completed and, in time, we hope to unveil a new Champions Program. In the interim, there are several initiatives based on your feedback that we will be able to implement. As an example, we have transitioned to a newly formatted e-newsletter with ?click-through? capability and a mobile friendly view. We will also be offering an additional newsletter each year as we move to triannual production.
What can you expect to see in future times?
Communications targeted to you, our Champions
Opportunities to share your knowledge and skills through one-time projects or time-limited committees
Your enthusiasm for this project was awe-inspiring?over 230 people participated in a survey or participated in interviews and focus groups. Thank you for the ongoing passion you have for Hospice Calgary.
Many things come together to form the holistic care offered at Rosedale Hospice with all parts of the house working together for our patients and their families. Rituals can play an important role at the end-of-life; to patients, their families, and hospice staff and volunteers. They can be a source of comfort, meaning, and affirmation.
Rituals create a powerful connection between emotion and experience. Death often leaves us speechless, and our rituals help us express what we can’t find the words for.
Rosedale has intentionally developed rituals to create meaningful moments and connections throughout the journey with each patient and their family. Some of these special rituals include: The memory lamp that gets turned when one of our patients dies and it stays lit for 24 hours. A special book is kept beside the lamp to be filled with notes and decorated name cards. When 24 hours have passed, the lamp is turned off and the name card is moved into in our chapel. Families can return whenever they would like to see the card, read the words they wrote in the book, and spend time remembering their person.
In recent years we have started a new ritual at Rosedale with our ?dignity quilt?. The quilt is kept on a wooden frame that sits close to the table that holds our memory lamp. When a patient dies, our team moves the quilt and places it outside the room door. This ritual provides a signal to everyone in the house that somebody we have cared for has died. The quilt remains outside the room until the funeral home arrives and we transfer care from our team to their team. At that point the dignity quilt is placed over the individual, and the entire team stands in honour along the halls as our patient makes their final journey through the halls of Rosedale.
Rituals offer tangible ways for people to come together, honor each patient, find strength during difficult times, and know they are part of a shared tradition experienced by past and future guests of Rosedale Hospice.