Living at Valley Hospice

Judy Doré was born and raised in Halifax. She married and moved to Avonport where she raised her two sons and is now also “Grammy” to a treasured teenage grandson. Judy was in and out of hospital and knew that the end of her life was not too far off, but it still surprised her when her physician suggested that she get her “affairs in order”. At the time, she was not able to get out of bed on her own, nor was she able to put shoes on her swollen feet. She lived every day with a sense of stress and tension about what would happen to her.

It was recommended that Judy consider going into the hospice as she came to the end of her journey. She had never heard of Valley Hospice, but she knew that deciding to go to the hospice meant that she was nearing death. While she could accept this, she wanted to make sure that her family was comfortable with this move. After speaking to her siblings and sons she made the decision to become a resident in Valley Hospice.

The story Judy shared of her declining condition was hard to square with the excited, nicely dressed woman who walked in for our interview.

”You see”, she said with a smile, “that I am wearing a new pair of shoes for this meeting”.

Judy continued, “I’m still dying, but not like I was before. I saw that I no longer needed to be concerned about those things that worried me before and there was no reason for my family to worry about me either. She went on to say that “the doctors visit every day and they keep my family in the loop, the nurses are amazing and the food is so good. My family can also visit anytime they want.” She pauses for a moment and goes on, “I open my eyes every morning and I am so grateful to be in the hospice- it is like a miracle! The residents and staff are like family, and people care about the ‘whole of me’. Yesterday I sat on my patio in the sun watching the squirrels and the birds. If you really love your family member who is dying, this is where you want them to be.”

Dr. Balfour Mount, the patron of Valley Hospice Foundation, explains that high-quality palliative care “enables a shift from preoccupation with suffering and anguish, to a growing acceptance of integrity, wholeness and inner peace.” These words hang on a plaque in the entrance of the hospice. Judy’s journey is a testament to this approach to end-of-life care.