VON in the Sault remains intact


On Wednesday, November 25th, The VON (Victoria Order of Nurses) announced that the organization was compelled to move down a path towards restructuring.

‘The VON is ceasing operations in six provinces and decreasing the size of its head office in order to better serve clients and provincial government partners in Ontario and Nova Scotia, its two principal service areas. Like many organizations in the health care sector, VON has been challenged to serve a growing number of clients with finite resources. This restructuring allows VON to focus resources on core service areas where economies of scale can be achieved.’ (http://www.von.ca/)

von-canadaVON has filed for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) for Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada, Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada – Eastern Region and Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada – Western Region. VON’s operations in Ontario and Nova Scotia (Victorian Order of Nurses – Ontario Branch and Victorian Order of Nurses Nova Scotia) are not included in this restructuring and will remain intact.

This will mean the closure of programs in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. VON is also reducing the number of employees in its head office, which provides corporate services to the operations, by 23 per cent. In total, 352 of 6446 employees are affected by this restructuring.

VON“We have had to make some hard choices about where we are able to make a difference in the lives of the greatest number of people,” said Jo-Anne Poirier, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are closing our smaller operations in six provinces and streamlining our head office to free up capacity to respond to opportunities in Ontario and Nova Scotia, where we believe we have the best opportunities for sustainability and growth.”

Jo-Anne Poirier further said “This has been a very difficult decision. We regret the impact these changes will have on affected clients and staff, and supporting them as we move through this process is our first priority. We understand change can be difficult, which is why we are doing what we can to ensure a smooth transition for those involved. We appreciate the continued support and patience of our clients, employees, partners, and many volunteers.”

In the Algoma District, the VON continues to provide vital services and health care links for adults and senior citizens. In an interview with saultonline, Kim Paradis, VON Algoma site supervisor shared “6 days a week, an adult day programme is offered where socialization, intellectual stimulation, and physical exercise supports individuals who have a variety of health care needs. This programme also supports care-givers, by giving those persons a time for respite.”

46 clients are currently registered in the adult day programme, with a waiting list of many more who could benefit from attending the activities offered. The adult day programme can accommodate 16 clients per day.

The Adult Day Program provides a safe and stimulating environment for adults and seniors who are frail, isolated, or managing the cognitive challenges of Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s or Stroke.

“We have a volunteer hospice visiting programme supported by volunteers who are trained through a 30 hour palliative care course. Volunteers are matched with clients who require assistance in community, including visiting in a persons’ home, in hospital, or living in long-term care. These clients are living with a life-limiting illness” shared Kim Paradis.
“In the district, we offer programmes in the Bruce Mines area as well as north to Hornepayne (hospice programme). We are currently working to develop and support the hospice programme in the White River area.”

In the hospice volunteer visiting programme there are 141 individuals registered to receive supports through the VON.

A Bereavement programme which is also supported by trained volunteers, hosts nine week sessions, with 55 individuals currently registered. The bereavement programme is run out of the Oxford St. location beside the United Way offices. “Sessions for the nine week bereavement programme can be run in the day time or in the evening, based on the needs of each group.”

A Foot care programme is part of the outreach work that VON Algoma offers as well. “A clinic is run out of the office 2 days a week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and home visits are scheduled as well for clients who are unable to get out easily.” said Kim Paradis
A programme geared to professional health care providers called ‘The Palliative Pain and Symptom Management Consultative Service’ is another component of the work of the VON. “A community nurse or physician can access this programme when pain management for a patient requires further exploration. Algoma, Cochrane, North Bay, Nipissing and Sudbury are areas where the aforementioned service is found.”

Lady Ishbel Gordon Aberdeen is the founder of VON, in 1897

The Algoma VON has a staff of 14, and with a host of volunteers supporting the programmes, it is fair to say that their combined effort is important and well utilized.
“We have been here 61 years (in the Algoma District), and we hope to be here for 61 more and beyond.” said Kim.

With a waiting list for the adult day programme, and roughly 3 referrals per week to that programme alone, The VON continues to be an important link to community outreach health care in the District of Algoma.

Established in 1897, VON is Canada’s longest-standing home and community health care charity, delivering a wide range of vital health and wellness services to more than 10,000 people in Ontario and Nova Scotia every day. VON is accredited with Exemplary Standing by Accreditation Canada.

To learn more about The Victoria Order of Nurses, visit: http://www.von.ca/