In 1990 a small group of compassionate and committed citizens saw the need for hospice in Centre Hastings. Hospice is a person-centered approach, encompassing the whole of the person. The primary aim of hospice is to relieve suffering and to improve the quality of living and the quality of dying. Early into the inception of bringing hospice to Centre Hastings, community VON nurse Doris Bush was invited into the process.
The group organized information nights throughout the various municipalities in the fall of 1990 and winter of 1991. The overwhelming message from these information nights was the people of Centre Hastings wanted a hospice. In the beginning days of hospice, the office for The Heart of Hastings Hospice was in Doris Bush’s own home. Board meetings would take place in the basement of the Presbyterian Church. In the spring of 1992, The Heart of Hastings Hospice was granted incorporation, and achieved charitable status.
The Heart of Hastings Hospice was making a difference in the lives of many individuals residing in the Centre Hastings area, but the board of directors never forgot their dream of opening a residential hospice. After tireless fundraising and grant applications, the dream became reality. In August of 2011, The Heart of Hospice purchased a home, and many volunteers committed time and effort to renovate the home. In September of 2012, The Heart of Hastings Residential Hospice House opened its doors at 17 McKenzie Street. Ten years later, and after several focus groups in all of our communities, the message was clear: we needed to expand. In the fall of 2022, after a brief closure, the hospice re-opened its doors. The space was expanded to include a third patient room, a second family guest room, accessible bathrooms, additional space for the medical equipment lending storage and private dedicated space for bereavement programming. The following spring, through the support of ladies at the 2022 Handbags for Hospice Fund a Need, a serenity garden was added to bring the peace and compassion of the hospice house to the beautiful back yard. The serenity garden offers residents, families, and group members a space in nature to reflect and find solace.
The Heart of Hastings Hospice currently serves Stirling-Rawdon, Tweed, Marmora & Lake, and Centre Hastings, which includes 9 Townships, 28,000 people and a geographical area of 5,700 km2.