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A song of praise for Mt. Tolmie Hospital care team

October 12, 2016
At the request of Peggy’s family, the Mt. Tolmie Care team gathered for a photo to be shared at Peggy’s Celebration of Life Ceremony. The palliative care room at Mt. Tolmie (pictured here) is generously funded by the Eldercare Foundation.

“This is a profession that must be one of the highest on the planet… You experience humanity at one of its deepest levels.”

That’s just one of the ways Garry Foster described the residential care team who cared for his mother June “Peggy” Foster at Mt. Tolmie Hospital. Garry and his brother Wayne wanted to share their thanks for the amazing care and comfort their mother received, from the time she was assessed to the moment of her passing this month.

When Peggy’s health first started shifting she was living on her own. “Her case manager, Mary, took the time to observe and track the changes we were noticing, even though her symptoms weren’t always readily apparent,” said Wayne Foster. “She listened to mom, she was easy to reach, and worked collaboratively with us to prepare for the next steps as mom’s illness progressed.”

After suffering a serious fall, which required a trip to Emergency, Wayne realized his mother needed more help than was possible in an independent living setting. “Mary arranged for someone to greet mom when we arrived from the hospital that night, and there was a team to greet us again on the day she moved into long term care at Mt. Tolmie.” Foster recalls the arrival day and feeling anxious about moving his mother into a new environment.  But those fears quickly subsided, thanks to the warm welcome and outstanding support from the care team at Mt. Tolmie.

“The staff always made time to treat my mom, and every resident, as an individual,” says Foster. “Whether it was bringing her tea in the garden, providing company and conversation during a sleepless night, we always felt the warmth of their personal connection to our mother, and were treated like partners in her care.”

Earlier this month, their mother became palliative. The family asked the care team into the room to share her final moments together. “We were struggling to find a way to process this loss, and then Duduza, one of her Health Care Assistants, offered to sing a traditional African song,” said Wayne Foster. “It was so beautiful, so touching, and it transformed something painful into a meaningful, personal and positive experience.”

“The staff helped our family through this transition with such amazing grace, respect, sympathy, love and support,” said Garry Foster. His brother Wayne, agrees, “We knew intellectually that the really important stuff in healthcare happens at the patient delivery level, but we had no idea how important until we experienced it personally. We feel lucky to have received such well-coordinated care during an extremely delicate time. We call the team at Mount Tolmie the ‘Angels in Training’ for the care they take in their roles.”

Site Manager, Norma Sorensen, couldn’t agree more with the Foster’s description of the care team at Mt. Tolmie.  “Our staff share a deep connection with our residents,” said Sorensen.

Health Care Assistants Cheri McCaskill (left) and Duduza Mkhize proudly hold a thank you card from the Foster Family. Mkhize often comforts residents by singing traditional African songs in her dialect. McCaskill says the training and support provided at Mt. Tolmie Hospital, and her personal experience with her mom, are instrumental in her approach to care. “It’s why I went into this profession; to serve, honor and comfort others,” says McCaskill.

Photo cutlines: 

Top photo:
At the request of Peggy’s family, the Mt. Tolmie Care team gathered for a photo to be shared at Peggy’s Celebration of Life Ceremony. The palliative care room at Mt. Tolmie (pictured here) is generously funded by the Eldercare Foundation.

Bottom photo:

Health Care Assistants Cheri McCaskill (left) and Duduza Mkhize proudly hold a thank you card from the Foster Family. Mkhize often comforts residents by singing traditional African songs in her dialect. McCaskill says the training and support provided at Mt. Tolmie Hospital, and her personal experience with her mom, are instrumental in her approach to care. “It’s why I went into this profession; to serve, honor and comfort others,” says McCaskill.

South Island media inquiries:
Kellie Hudson
Media Relations Manager
250.370.8908
Kellie.Hudson@viha.ca