Margaret Haugen says the mission of Jocelyn House Hospice is to carry on the dream of its namesake by adding life to the final days of the terminally ill and their loved ones.
"It allows patients to come and spend their final days with dignity, respect and, as much as possible, on their terms," said Haugen, the hospice’s executive director. "It’s about providing care and comfort in a home-like setting."
"We cater to our residents in terms of visiting hours, professional and volunteer care, dietary needs and home-cooked meals. We want them to feel like they’re in their own home," said Haugen, who lives in Whyte Ridge, noting the average resident stays for 45 days, although each case is different.
Jocelyn House Hospice was founded by Bill and Miriam Hutton in 1985, in memory of their daughter, Jocelyn, a former Kelvin High School student who died of cancer at just 17.
Their daughter’s bravery and spirit in battling the disease inspired them to found Western Canada’s first free-standing hospice at their wooded, riverside family home on Egerton Road in St. Vital.
Speaking ahead of World Hospice Day on Oct. 13, Haugen hopes two upcoming events will help raise awareness of the role of the hospice in the community.
The first public event will be held at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café (237 McDermot Ave.) on Oct. 11 at 2 p.m., when the Jocelyn Hutton Foundation will host a panel discussion featuring Minister of Health Theresa Oswald, CEO of Hospice Greater Saint John Sandy Johnson and Jocelyn House board member Maureen Hancharyk.
Two days later there will be a mall walk at 9 a.m. at St. Vital Centre, which will kick off a daylong, live-on-location event, including activities, speakers and a 50/50 draw. If you can’t make the event, organizers are selling 50/50 tickets for $5 each or three for $10.
The foundation development manager, Kyla Wiebe, said the hospice receives 48% of its funding from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, while shortfall is covered by bequests and donations.
"We need $300,000 a year to keep the hospice running," Wiebe said. "And many of our bequests come from people who hold Jocelyn House close to their heart."
The Riverview resident said the need to maintain the hospice is increasing due to the baby boomer generation.
"We have an aging population and have seen advances in medical care, so people are living longer. This has an impact," she said.
Carol Sakwi, whose brother is currently living at Jocelyn House, is grateful for the work of the hospice’s staff.
"Thank God there’s a place like this for him. This is my brother’s home and home has a very, very special meaning for him," said Sawki, who lives in Seven Sisters Falls, Man. and works as a health care aid at The Ironwood in Pinawa, Man.
For more information, to register for the mall walk, or to donate, visit www.jocelynhouse.ca or call 204-253-5898.