In photo : Bill McMahon, Board Treasurer, Maureen Sullivan-Bentz, Executive Director, Aran Myers, Business Development Manager Frank Cowan Company, Judy Cobus, Manager Volunteer and Community Development Services, Connie Legg, Board Chair.

On Friday February 3, Aran Myers, Business Development Manager at Frank Cowan Company, presented Hospice Renfrew with a generous donation on behalf of the Cowan Foundation to support training and education of hospice volunteers.

“We are very pleased to be able to enhance the support we provide to our team of over 60 volunteers at Hospice” said Hospice Executive Director Maureen Sullivan-Bentz. We will be able to expand our offering of volunteer palliative care training to long-term care facilities and hospitals in our community. We will expand the grief and bereavement drop-in sessions that currently run once monthly and are open to anyone in the community. We will also offer closed bereavement support group sessions for anyone interested.

Michael Lough, VP, Business Development, Specialty Programs, said the Frank Cowan Company recognizes the importance of palliative care. “Not only do we look to protect their insurance interests, but we also provide proactive advice and tools to help prevent situations from occurring that could impact operations,” Mr. Lough said.

“Hospice Renfrew is an important part of the local community doing wonderful work for residents, their families and friends,” explained Terry Reidel, Executive Director of the Cowan Foundation. “We are extremely pleased to donate $10,000 to assist with their program to train and support their volunteers. Based on our past experience partnering with other hospices, we believe this is an investment that will make a difference.”

For more information on the Cowan Foundation visit

Creating a Center of Excellence

Over the past year Hospice Renfrew has also received support for a new education and training room from The Commonwell Foundation and the JP Bickell Foundation. Ms. Sullivan-Bentz remarked the new education and training room will serve families, volunteers, health professionals and other community partners as the hub for palliative care excellence in Renfrew County. Hospice currently offers on-site specialized palliative care certification courses for health care providers. The new education and training room will be available for use by Algonquin College for training of personal support workers.

Ms. Sullivan-Bentz indicated that without foundation contributions it would not be possible to complete these essential renovations.

“All of the services at Hospice Renfrew are provided at no cost to the resident or family,” she said. “Hospice is partially funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care for 65 per cent of nursing salaries. The remaining 35 per cent as well as 100 per cent of ongoing operational funding — a total of $600,000 per year — must be generated locally through fundraising events, grants, donations, in-memoriam contributions and bequests. Capital costs for renovations and major repairs are in addition to the annual operating budget. So you see, this project could not have moved forward without having secured this funding”.

Additional building improvements required

After nine years of operations focused on establishing patient services and building a solid reputation for care, comfort and compassion in the community, Ms. Sullivan-Bentz said it is now time to address needed improvements in the building.

The main resident floor at Hospice was initially developed and is now maintained to the very highest standards. Recently staff refreshed this floor to ensure it continues to be a welcoming place for patients, their families and friends. From the beginning the development of the lower area was in the long term plans but other pressing needs have had to receive higher priority. For example, with the help of another grant, we were able to upgrade the alarm system to current standards.

Hospice’s next project will be renovating our lower level to provide private rooms for bereavement counselling and consultation for pain and symptom management. The renovation will also include building private and secure office space for full and part time administrative staff. Our lower level currently has only temporary partitions and needs healthy efficient offices, meeting rooms and community use areas.

Hospice right now also needs $70,000 for installation of a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning System for the lower level. There is a concerted effort going on to find funding for this. “The HVAC system for the patient area on the main floor was a priority, but the downstairs was given minimal attention due to budgetary constraints at the time of construction in 2008,” she explained. “Now with increased use of the lower level, we must secure funding to complete this second phase of the project as soon as possible.”

Milestone Anniversary 2018

Ms. Sullivan-Bentz said it’s hard to believe Hospice Renfrew will be celebrating its 10th anniversary next year. “We are very excited about this great accomplishment and will be planning many special events to mark our anniversary throughout 2018,” she said. “Over the past year we have shown some signs of aging. We had to replace our shingles, the main floor air conditioning unit, our resident beds and mattresses and the hot water tank. This coming summer we need to replace all resident room air conditioning units”.

Ms. Sullivan-Bentz said the building has held up extremely well and was obviously built with great planning and careful thought about its future. “Most of these expenses over the past year were predictable due to general wear and tear,” she said. “Hospice is grateful for the unbelievable commitment, support and generosity from the people, businesses and community organizations throughout Renfrew County”.

For more information about programs and services visit Hospice Renfrew website at  or on Facebook or Twitter @hospicerenfrew. To make a donation call 613-433-3993 ext 2236.