Seniors Situation Room – Edition 13 by Dawn Ford

 CFN – Hospice Cornwall. What an amazing place! What an incredible place…but one that I had been avoiding since it opened. One of my nursing classmates has been a volunteer since day one but I didn’t really talk about it with her. I didn’t really want to talk about it. About two years ago we had a Cornwall General Hospital Class reunion. On the agenda was a tour of Hospice. I could not imagine touring what I thought was a place of ‘doom and gloom’ and I couldn’t fathom why anyone would tour it anyway. I had said enough goodbyes in the past years, I didn’t need to be around anymore. Did I have to eat my words. I found out the hard way that it is a home of hope, love and caring.

My dearest friend Elaine had been in hospital for weeks and was moved to Hospice. At the time I remember thinking that I didn’t know why they did that. She was fine where she was in a private hospital room. I guess I was familiar with the hustle and bustle of the hospital and not with Hospice. But I was forced now to have to go. When I entered the door of the sprawled out modern facility nested in trees and snow I found myself in a comfortable entrance with many boots, boxes of slippers and a big cushion on a bench which read:  “Make yourself at home”. I don’t think so! There was a lady at the reception desk who greeted me with a warm smile and pleasantly gave me information about how to get to Elaine’s room. I noticed a big living room off to one side with a fireplace, piano and comfortable seating. It was nice. Something nice about the place besides the welcoming smile of the volunteer. Walking down the vacant hall, I noticed how warm the tones of the walls were with beautiful paintings. Then I met two nurses, both gave me big smiles. What’s with all the smiles?? Then I entered Elaine’s room, which was bigger and more lovely than some hotels rooms than I have been in. It was bright and airy with three large windows, a fireplace and big TV screen. She was propped up in her nice big bed and gave me a cheery smile. I realized everyone seemed to be smiling but me. The writing on the cushion was right; it was warm, cozy and homey…so far, anyway.


Some of the staff showed me a kitchen where a coffee pot was ready, muffins under a sign which gave a nut allergy warning which I appreciated being allergic to peanuts, a fridge full of drinks and food and a water/ice machine all ready for a nice cold drink. I looked for a sign for info on how much it would cost for a cup of coffee, etc., but there was none. It is all free. I was to learn as the days went by that is what Hospice is all about, just giving all the time, asking nothing of us but for us to be there, loving our cherished one who would soon be leaving us and with their support and loving care being able to feel comfortable and at home while we have to be there. Everything that is written in their brochures is true. They, the staff and volunteers are there to care for the patient and the family. They do an extraordinary job of it.


One night after the nurses had attended to the needs of Elaine, one of the nurses gave Elaine a kiss on her forehead as she would if she was about to leave her own loved one. Tears sprang up in my eyes. I was to see this outpouring of affection in the days which followed. That is how much this staff cares about those in their charge. All the volunteers I met, the staff of nurses and maintenance were all the same: loving caring people. To Dr. Mary Jane Randlett and her team of staff and volunteers a big kudos for making Hospice a loving home for everyone. Visit the Hospice website to learn more and to learn how we can be part of this wonderful home of hope, compassion and love.


When my friend Elaine was still in hospital she wanted her favorite honey-garlic chicken wings and zucchini sticks with sour cream and marinara sauce from the Family Restaurant. I went in and asked the always pleasant waitress Kathleen if it was possible to get half orders for Elaine. She asked the owner who just happened to be there and she said yes. Elaine enjoyed every bite. Kudos for being so compassionate and kind.

Hope you enjoy some of this monkey business:

Have a wonderful week, Dawn

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  1. Great article, Dawn.

  2. Thank you Shari – Hospice is a great place. Dawn

  3. some day I would like to come to hospice and play the piano. I am 82 yrs. old and play many of the old favourites by ear. some day I may be fortunate enough to spend my last days there. Alex

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