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CHAIR'S REPORT TO THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE BRIDGE HOSPICE

JUNE 11, 2015

Good evening. On behalf of the board of directors of The Bridge Hospice, I take great pleasure in welcoming you to our annual meeting. In past years as chair I have had the opportunity to share with you many of the successes and milestones that have occurred in the life of the Bridge, and this year is no different. There is exciting news tonight.
Before I move on, I’d like to review why The Bridge Hospice is here. Given our aging population, the need for palliative care is significant. Only 3 percent of people die suddenly – the rest could use palliative care. Thirty percent have a cancer diagnosis and the remaining 70 percent die of a range of other illnesses. Most people want to die at home, but in the final weeks this often changes as symptom management, the need for increased care, and caregiver relief become evident. Residential palliative care provides the right care, in a home-like setting, for one-third to one-half the cost of care in a hospital setting, at an average daily saving of $630 to the provincial health care budget. This past year the Auditor General’s report observed of residential hospice care that “quality, low cost care is being provided, but more is needed.” The Bridge Hospice is helping to meet that need and, as a member of Hospice Palliative Care Ontario, benefits from HPCO’s ongoing positive relationship with the provincial government, and its emphasis on setting standards for the provision of quality care.

Over the past year the board of directors has been engaged in a review of our service model. This has led to personnel changes and the need for the Volunteer Coordination Team under the leadership of Catharine Henderson, to step up to the plate in a significant way to ensure that our core service – providing quality end-of-life care to those who are dying, and to support their families and friends – did not suffer in any way during this time of transition. They have done so magnificently, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude. All of our volunteers – those who provide direct resident care, those who provide office support, maintenance and cleaning, those who support our many fundraising activities and speak on our behalf at community meetings – all of these volunteers are critical to our ability to provide this service and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

Tonight I have exciting news – news that will allow The Bridge Hospice to improve our accessibility to the many in our community who wish to utilize our services. It is with great pleasure that I announce a new collaborative partnership with the Saint Elizabeth Community Enterprise. Saint Elizabeth is a respected leader in home and community care within our local area and across the country. They have a wealth of experience and a strong commitment to social impact, particularly in the area of end-of-life care.

Under this agreement, Saint Elizabeth will provide The Bridge Hospice with up to $300,000 in annual funding. This contribution will augment the existing services provided by the Community Care Access Centre and ensure the provision of professional health care services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to the Bridge Hospice. These services will allow us to accept more residents, and will reduce the stress on our patient care volunteers. In addition to financial support, Saint Elizabeth will also be providing oversight of management services, ongoing education and
professional development, 24/7 on-call, as well as research and evaluation services and support for communications.

I would like to thank the Central East LHIN for their ongoing support and for facilitating our introduction to Saint Elizabeth. We are also pleased to continue our excellent relationship and support from the Community Care Access Centre, and to be working closely with Campbellford Memorial Hospital and Community Care Northumberland.

As you know, great relationships don’t “just happen.” They take time, patience and people who want to work together. I would thank Saint Elizabeth – and all of our community partners – for supporting our unique and innovative care model here at the Bridge Hospice.

Introductions:

  • Nancy Lefebre – Senior VP Knowledge and Practice, Saint Elizabeth
  • Jeanne Thomas – Director, System Design & Integration, CE LHIN
  • Lisa Burden – Senior Director, Patient Services, CE CCAC
  • Trish Baird – ED, Community Care Northumberland
  • Brad Hilker – CEO, Campbellford Memorial Hospital

I would also like to thank our MPP Lou Rinaldi, who was unable to be with us tonight, for his ongoing support, and for facilitating discussions with various people in government who have responsibility for palliative care in our province.

As we join with Saint Elizabeth Community Enterprise in this new collaborative partnership, it is important that our current and future donors recognize that their continued financial support remains critical going forward. The resources that Saint Elizabeth brings to the collaboration will go primarily to funding a new level of service. The Bridge Hospice will always have an ongoing commitment to keep the physical hospice functioning – to keep the lights on and the bills paid. Our need for fundraising is not diminished in any way, and as we have relied on each one of you in the past, we will continue to rely on you in the future. The people of Northumberland County and region recognize the essential nature of this service and I know they will continue to support us going forward.

Each year we say goodbye and thank you to those going off the board, and we welcome new faces to our table. The Bridge Hospice is very fortunate over the years to have attracted good people with the skills, dedication and knowledge to allow us to continuously move forward. Tonight is no exception as you will see when the nomination committee makes its report. Tonight though we must say goodbye to Roxann Hill and Barb Phillips, both of whom have been with us for the past three years. They have contributed in important ways to discussions around the board table and each have willingly taken on other jobs that suited their interests and skills. Thank you Roxann and Barb for all you have contributed and we wish you well in the future.

Tonight marks another change for the Bridge. After five years I am stepping down as the chair of the board. It has been a true privilege to be part of such a dynamic group of volunteers over this time. Over my career I have worked with several different boards and I can honestly say that I have never worked with a better group than I have found here at the hospice. The right people – the people whose skills we need – have come forward when we needed them, and I know that this trend continues this year. I have often said that a leader’s last most important task is to replace him or her self with a quality person.

This person should not necessarily do what I might have done, but rather should bring to the position their own understanding and passion for the organization. I am extremely pleased to inform you that Ms. Jill Hutcheon will be assuming the position of Chair of the board after tonight. Those of you who have been to the TBH website will know that Jill has held many executive leadership positions in and out of government, has experience in strategic planning, finance, and communications, and is a skilled negotiator. She has served on the board for the past two years, taking increasing responsibility, and has been very helpful in our discussions over the past year with various people and organizations. The hospice couldn’t be in better hands.

So, thank you to you all for giving me this opportunity to serve. I will remain on the board as past chair for one year.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob Henderson, MD