The Salvation Army Agapé Hospice
Our Story Why We Exist
The mornings are always the best part of my days. That’s when I go and visit each of our Residents. There are times when Residents will be sound asleep, or in the tub room, soaking in a warm bath with calm, relaxing music playing on the stereo in the background. But the times I enjoy the most are when I am invited to share in the stories of a Resident’s life and learn more about them and their journey at Agapé Hospice.
I will never forget the morning I first met John. When I walked into his room, he greeted me with a smile that was so welcoming and kind. In that moment it was hard to believe he was nearing the end of his life. John shared with me about the difficult decision to come to Agapé. Being a strong, independent and, at times, “stubborn” man, having to rely on others for care was a foreign concept. But, he quickly reassured me that his anxiety and hesitation were already put to rest. In the two days following his arrival, John felt like he was “truly home.” John delighted in the home cooked meals, especially the desserts, and the attentiveness of every individual who came to see him. His family had peace of mind knowing he was well taken care of and he felt so at home and at peace.
It wasn’t long into his stay that John reconfigured his room to include a “reception area.” Our rooms on average are the same size as a junior office in a 10 storey building, not super large, so creating a “reception area” was no easy feat. But being able to transform his hospice room into his “home” complete with his favourite chair, a crème coloured worn leather recliner, and matching ottoman, was something that brought joy to all of us working that day. He was able to maneuver his TV into one corner of the room, his dresser into another corner, and his hospital bed was pushed against a wall which faced opposite to an east window that would brightly shine and fill the room with warmth on sunny days. The maneuvering worked out like a game of Tetris and as you opened the door to his room, you were greeted by a perfect little sitting area, with room for a bedside table, a folding chair, and of course his favourite recliner. Our morning ritual always began with John asking me to take a seat in his reception area. John would sit at the end of the bed, and I in his favorite chair brought from home. Our conversations were so varied: books, sports, the playful squirrels in the garden, and yet they always ended in the same way. John would grab a hold of my hand, look me in the eye and say, “Thank you, to all of you, for all you do, this is such a wonderful place.”
The morning before John died I went into his room to find his daughter keeping vigil in the infamous reception chair. I knew this was likely the last time I would be in John’s sacred reception space. Being minimally responsive, I was not sure whether John would know I was in the room. To my surprise he squeezed my hand as he did during our morning visits. In that moment, I had no words to express the gratitude that I felt and the privilege of knowing this man, even for only a short time.
I have many of these encounters…I feel blessed to be in a place where the people that we love and serve also fill our hearts and spirit.
- Sarah Foster, Nursing Lead
Our Impact What We Do
The Salvation Army Agapé Hospice is a hospice providing a palliative care program with a special attitude in a special setting for individuals and their families dealing with a terminal illness.
Maximizing our Resident’s quality of life while they are facing death is the primary focus of the hospice program and team. A core of services provided by an Interdisciplinary Team* are key in meeting the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of terminally ill Residents and their families. Providing a calm environment with a competent team is the foundation for meeting the needs of the total human person. Hospice includes caring for our Resident, their family and one another.
- Agape Hospice was the first free standing facility of its kind in Calgary, making it a pioneer of the holistic hospice and palliative care that is widely known today.
- Agape provides a total of 20 beds in two wings; we hold a service contract agreement with Alberta Health Services, from which we receive approximately 72% of our operating funds.
- To date, over 5,350 Residents have received end of life care at Agape, with their loved ones receiving spiritual, social, emotional and bereavement support.
*Our Interdisciplinary Team consists of our Medical Director, Clinical Lead, a Salvation Army Chaplain, a Social Worker, Nursing Lead, Registered Nurses, Resident Attendants, Attending Physicians, Palliative Care Consultants, and Hospice Palliative Care Volunteers.
To book a facility tour, please call us at 403-282-6588, ext 230.
Our Programs How We Do It
At Agapé Hospice, it is our privilege to care for our Residents and their loved ones. We offer the following supports and services:
Supervised by the Nursing Lead, our Nursing Team consists of Registered Nurses (RNs), Resident Attendants (RAs), and Unit Clerks. We have a diverse group of nursing employees that is made up of both female and male caregivers.
Our Medical Director has a team of Physicians, including a Palliative Care Consultant, with experience in hospice care who oversee individual care.
The Clinical Lead is responsible for the planning, organizing, direction, and overall management and operations of Resident care.
Social Work plays an integral role within Agapé’s Interdisciplinary Care Team and provides support to Residents and their loved ones Monday to Friday.
We have a Salvation Army Officer who co-ordinates spiritual care, respecting all religions and philosophies. Our Spiritual Care Coordinator is available on-site from Monday to Friday.
Our Bereavement Coordinator is responsible for bereavement support after death. Prior to death, the Bereavement Coordinator works with Agapé’s Interdisciplinary Team to understand the priorities and support needed during transition.
Volunteers are essential Interdisciplinary Team members who provide the support intended to enhance, strengthen, sustain and extend the services offered at Agapé Hospice.
Our qualified cooks and dietary employees prepare the meals at Agapé Hospice. We use fresh ingredients and follow Canada’s Food Guide for dietary needs.
Housekeeping, Maintenance, and Laundry
Housekeeping and Maintenance are available seven days a week. Personal clothing items are washed and returned to Residents on a regular basis.
Our Requests What You Can Do
There are a variety of ways in which you can make a difference. Agapé Hospice gratefully accepts donations from individuals, corporations, and businesses.
Different ways to give to Agapé Hospice:
- Undesignated Donations are crucial to ensure the continuance of quality care for our Residents. These gifts may be in the form of Cash Donations or In Memoriam Donations. They may be made monthly, quarterly, or annually.
- Designated Donations to fund a specific project or item are invaluable in ensuring efficient operations and an adequate supply of necessary equipment. Examples of designated donations include Facility Renovations, Maintenance Requirements, and Medical Equipment.
- Gift In Kind Items or Services provide items or services for the benefit of facility operations, administration, or fundraising activities.
For more information on making a donation, including how to make a Planned or Legacy Gift, please contact us at 403-282-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We offer a comprehensive volunteer program with over 90 dedicated volunteers who provide a variety of warm and caring support such as:
- Providing comfort through presence, conversation and acts of kindness
- Life enriching activities such as Wednesday High Tea, pet visits, card making and peaceful walks in the garden
- Fine Arts Program including resident artists and special musical guests
- Garden horticulture and floral arrangements
- Respite for family
- Bereavement follow up
- Assistance with special fundraising events
For more information, contact our Volunteer Program Coordinator at 403-282-6588, ext 230.