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Special Needs – Special Person

Patsy Hannam loved being outdoors. She was independent, a skilled athlete—particularly in the curling rink—and an active member of Horizon Achievement Centre. Patsy worked in catering at the Horizon Achievement Centre, as well as a cleaner at the YMCA—a job at which she excelled. Patsy had special needs, and her cousin Edna Weatherbee explains that her family was very appreciative of the care Patsy received through the Palliative Care Service, supported by Hospice Cape Breton.

Patsy passed away in August of 2020.  Edna says the medical staff working within the Service treated Patsy with respect and compassion. “They would speak directly to her, and they would really listen, says Edna. “They just knew how to ask the right questions and the access to care was so easy.” Edna was particularly impressed with just how quickly answers or help would come after making a phone call. “We never had to wait, as soon as we would make a call, someone would get back to us within 24 hours.”

Edna says their experience was extremely positive as they took the journey with Patsy. “When your loved one is gone, you appreciate the care they received even more,” says Edna. “There really wasn’t anything negative about the whole journey, Patsy received everything she needed and more.”

Edna feels the new ten-bed Hospice being constructed would have been the perfect place for Patsy.    She didn’t have any immediate family, and as her extended family, we were not in a position to have her live with us.   “Having an option like the Hospice would have been very helpful for our family, and for Patsy.”

The Hospice will offer a home-like setting for those needing end of life care.    It features a bright and big family room, a quiet room, a dining room, kitchen and beautiful gardens that will surround the building.   “For someone like Patsy, who loved the outdoors, being able to see nature, and to walk out and enjoy it would have been a real comfort.   I’m sure it will be for others in the future,” said Edna.

While Edna will miss their coffee and Walmart visits, she is happy that Patsy found so much joy throughout her life, whether it was playing cards, watching hockey, baseball or taking part in the many sports she loved.   “Patsy did have special needs, and perhaps that’s what made her even more special,” said Edna.