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The new William and Maureen Shenkman Palliative Care Unit at Bruyère welcomes first patients


A few weeks ago, the Bruyère Foundation welcomed donors to celebrate the completion of the new Shenkman Palliative Care unit at Bruyère’s Saint-Vincent campus, made possible by the community’s generous support of the $6 million Celebrating Life at Every Stage campaign.

Integral to the success of this Campaign was the incredible generosity of one individual who is very well known in our community for his exceptional generosity and leadership – William Shenkman.

The Shenkman name is synonymous with philanthropy in this city and Bruyère is fortunate to have been the beneficiary of many gifts over the years from Bill and his wife Maureen. The palliative care unit at our Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital also had the Shenkman name attached to it thanks to Bill’s lead gift to the campaign to upgrade the unit years nearly 18 years ago.

And Bruyère is especially grateful that Bill agreed to be the lead donor for this campaign. Bill’s donation honours the legacy of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa, specifically Sister Gisele Vadeboncoeur, a tower of strength and inspiration at Bruyère, who’s passion for care and improving the lives of others lives on today.

The palliative care program, which moved from the Élisabeth Bruyère campus in the ByWard Market campus to the Saint-Vincent campus in Centretown, will continue to deliver the exceptional care it is renowned for, and will support the creation of a new model of care that builds on the strengths of Bruyère’s specialized hospital programs in palliative and complex care.

This change is being made in support of those we care for and their loved ones and reflects the realities of an aging demographic. As our population ages, we are seeing a greater number of patients with increasing medical complexity who are managing multiple chronic illnesses.

These are patients who benefit from complex medical care as well as a palliative approach to care. Complex care helps people restore and maintain functional ability so they can transition on to life in the community. With a palliative approach to care, the focus is on reducing and relieving pain. Both care streams contribute to the same outcome for our patients and their loved ones: improved quality of life.

The move recognizes the significance of a palliative approach to care that goes beyond end of life and is beneficial for anyone with a chronic or complex illness. Palliative care has been shown to improve quality of life and reduce and relieve symptoms. It can play a significant role in helping patients and loved ones make important decisions and provide support throughout illness from the time of diagnosis.

As a leader in palliative and complex care, we saw taking this step as something we needed to do to support those we care for and their loved ones. With the generous support of our community, $5.8 million of the $6 million dollars has been donated to ensure that our patients will now have the enhanced benefit of receiving the best in palliative and complex care from one campus. The Bruyère Foundation Board, under the leadership of Chair, Daniel Fernandes, will continue to reach out to the community to secure the remaining $200,000 to complete the campaign.

Members of the Campaign Cabinet include Campaign chair Brad Ezard, Scott Brooker, Guy Chartrand, Daniel Fernandes, Joanne Kudakiewicz and Nik Lemieux. We are grateful for their support. And we’d like to thank everyone who contributed and played a part in making this new unit a reality, helping our patients and their families Celebrate Life at Every Stage.

For more information on the Campaign, please contact Bruyère Foundation President, Tom Hewitt at 613-562-6319 or thewitt@bruyere.org.