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Coping With Covid: Thru The Eyes of Caledon’s Bethell Hospice

Written by Patti Foley

Bethell Hospice is a Caledon organization that has been hit tremendously hard by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For those unfamiliar with the role of hospices it should be said that hospice services are an essential component of our health care system, focusing on individualized care and comfort.

Bethell Hospice uses dignity and comfort as its cornerstones as it provides compassionate, respectful care to enhance the quality of life for individuals facing a life-limiting illness, and their families. 

Recently Just Sayin’ Caledon asked Bethell to give us an understanding of the impacts of the pandemic on their essential role in our health care….

Since March 2020, our world has changed.  The impacts of COVID-19 have been swift and far-reaching.  But this situation has also reminded us what is truly important.  In simple terms, the most important gifts we can give others are compassion, respect, and genuine caring.  That’s what hospice care has always been about.

Our wonderful and dedicated Bethell Hospice Care Team continues to provide outstanding care to our residents and their families, and has looked for additional ways to ensure the best possible support in these challenging times.  Our Clinical Team facilitates Facetiming between residents and those unable to visit, and brings around a Compassionate Care Cart of coffee, tea and cookies to essential visitors on a regular basis.  Our Social Work Team is providing limited in-person support, but extensive virtual support to our residents and families, and to our community clients.  The team has also created and distributed comfort kits, for both residents and community clients, to offer activities, resources and extra support.

Some of Bethell Hospice’s main challenges have been keeping abreast of, and adjusting to, the constantly-changing guidelines from public health authorizes and the Ministry of Health, as the COVID-19 situation evolves.  One of the changes that has been toughest on everyone is the evolving visitor policies to ensure optimal safety, while at the same time keeping the residents connected to those that matter most to them.  Keeping social distance, and not being able to give someone a hug, are very difficult in palliative care situations.  But all changes that have been made are to keep everyone as safe as possible.

For Bethell Hospice Foundation, the challenges have been immense. In 2019, third party fundraising events and donations from community groups totaled almost $450,000.  However this year, in light of the realities of COVID-19, many of our signature fundraising events have had to be cancelled or postponed, and future impacts remain uncertain.  We are so grateful to our event organizers and community partners for their generous past support but, so far in 2020, only a handful of small, virtual events have been able to proceed.

Fundraising events represent a significant portion of the revenue needed each year to fund the operation of Bethell Hospice, allowing all the programs and services to be available at no cost to residents and their families, and to our many community clients.  The significant impact on fundraising, while completely understandable, has been extremely difficult for us.

The Foundation continues to reinvent our fundraising plans for 2020 and beyond.  With the reality that the impact of COVID-19 will be felt in the economy for years to come, fundraising will remain a challenge for some time.  On our website, you can find many ways you can make a difference – whether large or small.

We look forward to brighter days ahead, and are confident that, together, we will weather this storm. We are incredibly grateful for everyone’s past support and belief in the importance of Bethell Hospice in our community.  We hope that we can continue to count on your support, to whatever extent you are able.  Please know how grateful we are for your compassion and your generosity.

About the author

Patti Foley

Having spent 25 years in Bolton, Patti remains an advocate for Caledon. As a former Regional Councillor and a long-time community volunteer she is passionate about communicating information about its issues, news, events, people, non-profits and businesses.

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