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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Hospice’s Patient Assistant Fund named after outgoing Executive Director

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

- Colleen Reaume started the program to assist clients -

by Sylene Argent

Photos submitted by the Hospice of Windsor & Essex County Inc.

Recently, outgoing Executive Director of the Hospice of Windsor & Essex County Inc. Colleen Reaume, learned the Patient Assistance Fund she initiated in 2018 would be named in her honour.

  Katharen Bortolin, Director of Community Engagement and Advancement for the Hospice of Windsor & Essex County, explained the fund was originally created as the Hospice Patient Assistance Fund.

  When patients and families go to a Hospice residential home, all services are free of charge, however, the program does take care of patients in the community, from within their own homes, until end of life.

  A social worker with Hospice brought the need for a patient assistance fund forward, when a patient was struggling during the summer from home as there was no air conditioner. Hospice did everything possible to get an air conditioner donated for the client, Bortolin said, adding Reaume, at that time, noted there was a Patient Assistance Program at the Hospital in the cancer program, where she used to work.    

  Reaume, Bortolin said, made the inaugural donation to allow the Patient Assistance Fund to support the patient with an air conditioner.

  Reaume began working on the fund in December of 2018, and it was launched in early 2019. “Our team loved the idea, jumped right in and actually, at that time, other staff members followed her inaugural donation to help build up the fund,” Bortolin said.

  After announcing she would depart the organization, she requested coworkers support the fund in lieu of any gifts. As a result, members of the Board of Directors and staff donated over $5,000 to the fund in her honour. In addition, the Board of Directors, Bortolin said, thought it was a perfect fit to rename the fund the ‘Colleen Reaume Patient Assistance Fund.’”

  The Colleen Reaume Patient Assistance Fund, Bortolin said, can cover things like creams or prescriptions, that are not fully covered by the government, and patient transfers. It is used for base-line things that really make a huge difference in the life of someone going through a difficult time.

  Registered patients work with a social worker, who helps to determine needs and circumstances. From there, if there is a need, a request can be submitted to access the fund.

  “I have always believed that this fund provides support to our patients in the times when life can feel the most overwhelming. If we can give back some control to our patients by lending a helping hand with things they may need financial support for, this leaves our patients better positioned to focus on their overall well-being,” Reaume said. “In my experience with these types of funds, it is usually the smallest of gestures that go the farthest and have the biggest impact.”

  Those who would like to donate to the fund can do so though the Hospice website, Bortolin added there is a plan to put more focus on the fund in the near future, because it is a beautiful way for the community to support others in their time of need.

  “It is important to share a thank-you to Colleen,” Bortolin said. “She was an absolutely amazing leader for our Hospice. This is just one of the many ways she touched the lives of our staff, volunteers, patients, and families. We are really honoured to have the opportunity to name this after her.” 

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