• St. Joseph's Health Crisis Fund

Donor support for new Palliative Care Unit redefines the experience

When Doug Del Net was nearing the end of his life in December 2017, he and his wife Barbara decided that he wouldn’t pass away at home – he wanted to go to Parkwood.

On December 6, 2018, one year after Doug’s death, St. Joseph’s Health Care London unveiled the new Palliative Care Unit (PCU) at Parkwood Institute. Designed in consultation with patients and families, the new unit is a bright and welcoming space that offers a home away from home during end-of-life care.

Mother Barbara Del Net and her son Tim standing in front of fire place

Barbara Del Net and her son Tim MacNaught in the Douglas Del Net Family Room

“When I saw the new space, I got goosebumps,” said Barbara Del Net. “I really wish Doug could see this… he’d be so proud.”

The new PCU is a refuge for families like the Del Nets during their most vulnerable times. There is a media room where families can video-chat with relatives or set children up with a movie to watch during visits, as well as a comfortable living room with a fireplace. In the Douglas Del Net Family Room, named in recognition of a generous donation from the family prior to Doug’s death, families can gather to share a meal, enjoy a cup of coffee or relax together while a loved one is receiving medical care. 

Group of people cutting red ribbon

From left to right: Michelle Campbell, Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, Tim MacNaught, Barbara Del Net, Suzana Gotovac, Robert VanderHeyden, Roy Butler and Lisa Malbrecht

In each of the 18 private patient rooms, special touches bring comfort to patients and caregivers to improve the overall experience. The rooms feature personal temperature controls and soft floor lighting so clinical staff can enter at night without disturbing anyone. There is a built-in photo display on each wall for patients to personalize their space, as well as a couch that converts to a bed for overnight family visits. Above each resident’s bed is a skylight-style photo featuring a calming image such as clouds or trees.

Many of the home-like features were made possible through the generous support of the community, with St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation contributing $1.1 million in donations toward the $3.1 million renovation.

“Donors to this project have brought comfort and peace to the patients and families who will place their faith in St. Joseph’s in the years to come,” says Michelle Campbell, President & CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation. It’s just one of the reasons why your donation matters here.

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