Lasting legacy helps end-of-life patients

Lasting legacy helps end-of-life patients

Stephanie McManus passed away nearly two years ago, but she continues to share a special connection with patients and staff at Hamilton General Hospital (HGH).

Teams across Hamilton Health Sciences treated Stephanie for multiple medical complications such as an ectopic pregnancy, deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism in both lungs. Grateful for the care she received, Stephanie was an advocate for Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation and was a Hamilton General Hospital Foundation Fundraising Council member.

Before she passed away from multiple myeloma in January 2016, Stephanie left a gift in her will which was used to support the establishment of an End-of-Life Room in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at HGH.

“The donation we received from Stephanie was the key that made this End-of-Life Room possible.”

“Stephanie was moved to a private room during her last few days and it made a huge difference,” says Stephanie’s partner Marc. “We were given privacy to say our emotional farewells. I’m happy that Stephanie’s gift is giving other families the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones in a private setting.”

Donor Stephanie McManus
Stephanie McManus

Stephanie’s daughter Sydney is proud of her mother’s legacy gift.

“My mom spent her life fighting for what is right and supporting causes close to her heart,” explains Sydney. “It’s very special that she can continue to do so after her passing.”

The ICU End-of-Life Room is a space designed for patients nearing the end of the patient journey, providing a private and homey atmosphere. The room opened in fall 2017 following several years of planning.

“Our nursing team surveyed staff in the ICU to learn more about the end-of-life patient experience and how it relates to the quality of care provided by the staff,” explains Sue DiSabatino, a registered nurse and education clinician in the ICU. “We learned that staff had a strong desire to create a dignified space where patients and families can stay during their final moments. The donation we received from Stephanie was the key that made this End-of-Life Room possible.”

The ICU End-of-Life Room at HGH
The ICU End-of-Life Room

The room is designed to look like a bedroom, with the walls painted with comforting tones. Coffee, tea, booklets, a recliner and a private bathroom are available for families. Staff members have donated the decorations in the room, including a frame and a portrait of a waterfall.

“The teams here are so invested because it shows that we really do care for patients at end-of-life,” says Edita Hajdini, a registered nurse who was integral in designing the room. “End-of-life is a difficult time for everyone involved, so we want to support patients and families during this process.”

November is Make a Will Month. To learn how you can leave a legacy gift in support of Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, please visit hamiltonhealth.ca/legacy.