An August 6th, 1988 newspaper clipping from the Halifax Chronicle Herald captures the breaking news reading:
"BADDECK - More than 25 residents, nurses and clergy formed a hospice society for Victoria County this week, ending several months' research by an organizing committee. Hospice Care is directed at terminally ill patients and their families and offers support to them. Members here approved by-laws, established a nominating committee, and appointed an interim chairman and recording secretary. "I feel the focus (of hospice) should be centered in the hospital" said Rev. Bill Holman, interim chairman. The board of directors of Victoria County Memorial Hospital recently gave their stamp of approval to hospice care in the area. "We'd like to see the concept of a team approach, using doctors, clergy, community health nurses, educators, volunteers - anyone could be part of the team" said Judy Fuller, R.N., and co-author of a study on hospice care in the county. The group hopes to increase their numbers and resources in preparation for their next meeting Aug.24 at Greenwood United Church."
It was collectively agreed that the palliative care delivered throughout Victoria County through the Hospice Society may not exist today if not for this man's vision and determination. Without his expertise and belief in the value of Hospice, the program might still be an idea rather than a reality. In 1985, a retired minister, who had been influential in the establishment of a hospice in an urban area, he began talking to his neighbours and friends in Victoria County about the philosophy of hospice care. At that time, many did not understand the concept and had doubts. This did not daunt him and the sceptics merely fueled his determination. His energy and vision continued to provide a driving force for the establishment of the Hospice Society, in fundraising, searching out available government support, organizing community support and participation, contacting other hospice programs for advice and officials in the Health Department - anyone who would listen - to bring this philosophy to life.
Dr. Carlyle Chow
Mrs. Jessie Dougall
Mr. Roy Dougall
Mrs. Margaret Hanam, R.N.
Judge Lloyd Hudson
Rev. Louis Ihasz
Mr. Marshall Kaiser
Mrs. Nancy Langley
Rev. John MacDougall
Mrs. Olive MacKay
Miss Jessie MacLeod
Rev. Everett J. MacDow
Mr. Rod MacNeil
Mrs. Charlotte MacIver
Mrs. Heather MacInnis
Mrs. Carys Reid
Mrs. Diane Grant, R.N.
Mrs. Kathryn MacDonald
Mrs. Dallas Hendsbee
In a letter written October 27th, 1988 by Secretary-Treasurer Carys Reid The Hospice Society conveyed their sincere thanks to
Dr. Garth Vaughan
(a resident of Windsor at the time)
for going above and beyond in creating a logo for the society.
Despite the society only being a year old, despite the fact that many folks at the time still did not know what the word "hospice" meant and despite the society's struggle to establish a place of their own within the hospital their 1989 newsletter is sprinkled with huge wins! Accepting referrals of individuals to hospice care began in January of that year. In just 6 months from launch day 17 referrals, persons, were aided. Several of the referrals were not terminally ill but ones in which individuals wanted help coping with fear associated with the diagnosis of cancer and/or treatments to follow. This also enabled the society to support the families caring for loved ones with information, liaison between health care facilities and bereavement support. Another thank you need to Rev. Bill Holman for persuading Carolyn MacDonald, Joan MacLeod and Judith Fuller to find out what people in our community needed when faced with serious illness in the family.
The Education Committee together with Judy Fuller planned and successfully executed a 6 week education program covering a variety of subjects such as pain control, spiritual needs of the terminally ill, communication and active listening, funeral and legal considerations in which 48 people attended the space to learn donated by the Inverary Inn. Participants positivity about the program were so strongly felt that, under Judy Fuller's leadership, it was continued in North Shore by a group. Two more regional groups developed to convey the education program in Iona and Middle River as well. A group continued in Baddeck meeting weekly discussing topics such as stress management and teaching children about death. These programs birthed a lending library of recommended books, literature and videos.
The report was rightfully so, so full of so much acknowledgment and gratitude to Judy Fuller's educating abilities. A special thanks to Dianne Grant, Head Nurse at the Victoria Country Memorial Hospital, who "sensitively assesses individual need for hospice care and who has made a number of referrals".
A special thanks to Marilyn Cameron, Director of Nursing, who fostered the development of the hospice care service in coordination with the hospital.
Annual general meeting of that year at the Baddeck Fire Hall records guest speaker Dr. Peter Jackson from Sydney River. Emphasizing in his speech the utmost importance of personal history, trust & the ability to face the reality of a situation. The society applied for a Federal Government grant under the 'Senior's Independence Program' (S.I.P.) and was awarded for 3 years from the Department of National Health & Welfare. Liability Insurance was also purchased this year for volunteers.
The next chapter of this story is especially moving because it's... not our story.
Its about how we helped other communities start theirs.
The word hospice evolved
from Latin "hospitium" to English "host".
The Oxford Dictionary tells us "hospit" care originally served as,
“A house of shelter or rest for pilgrims, strangers and travelers passing through villages ".