How much do you know about Bruyère?

Ottawa healthcare provider boasts much more than their world-renowned palliative care program
Peggy Taillon and Daniel Fernandes

Despite having a slightly lower profile than some of Ottawa’s larger health-care facilities, Bruyère Continuing Care punches above its weight in providing an array of vital services to the region.

The organization specializes in three broad areas across a hospital, residential programs and community programs. Within each there is a diverse continuum of services that are focused on returning patients to their homes, keeping them at home or becoming their home.

“The nature of Bruyère’s work means it’s often focused on improving its patients’ quality of life, rather than curing an ailment, says Daniel Fernandes, Chair of the Bruyère Foundation’s board of directors. 

“The more I learn, the more humbled I am at everything that happens here.”

More than a hospital

Though Bruyère is best known for its palliative care, the organization provides a broad range of services across several Ottawa-area facilities.

In addition to Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital in the ByWard Market, the organization also operates the nearby Élisabeth Bruyère Residence, Élisabeth Bruyère and Primrose Family Medicine Centres, Saint-Vincent Hospital near LeBreton Flats and the Saint-Louis Residence and Bruyère Village in Orléans, which is housed within its independent living and supportive housing units for seniors.

“What people often don’t appreciate about Bruyère is that we’re way more than a hospital,” says Bruyère Foundation President and CEO Peggy Taillon.

As a health care organization with a focus on long-term care, Bruyère offers inpatient, outpatient and community health services. 

In addition to palliative and hospice care, Bruyère also provides a range of educational outreach and family focused services to Ottawa residents. For example, the two Bruyère Family Health Teams performed the medical assessments for the influx of Syrian refugees who arrived in Ottawa in recent years.

Daniel Fernandes
Daniel Fernandes (Photo by Bruyère)

Long term care

Many Ottawa-area residents know of Bruyère through its geriatric, palliative and hospice care offerings. Due to Canada’s aging population, an ever-growing number of area residents are spending time in one of the organization’s facilities.

“Our acute care partners such as The Ottawa Hospital will certainly save your life. Bruyère gives you back your quality of life,” says Taillon.

What many don’t realize is the commitment the organization has to getting patients – even those with terminal illnesses – back to their own homes and lives. Even in Bruyère’s Palliative Care unit, many people come in for a consult to manage pain and other symptoms, then return home.

"People don’t want to die in hospital."

“People don’t want to die in hospital,” Taillon says.

Though Bruyère has robust inpatient services for those who require constant care, the health-care provider also dedicates a great deal of resources to enabling patients to return to the comfort of their own home, whether through physiotherapy, house calls or a number of other courses of treatment. 

In fact, rehab is one of the largest programs offered through Bruyère. The system continues to evolve and grow as new evidence, interventions and tools are discovered through research. At Bruyère, staff understand that movement – which many clients can only perform thanks to their rehab programs – is key to regaining and maintaining one’s wellbeing.

Rehab patients run the gamut, from stroke survivors to geriatric patients. 

Getting involved

While board chair Fernandes is a lawyer specializing in commercial real estate, he was nevertheless drawn to work with Bruyère after learning about the breadth of services the organization provides.

“What I realized was, there’s just not enough awareness in our city or country-wide – Bruyère does so much that people just don’t know about,” says Fernandes.

Though he owns and operates his own law firm, Daniel C. Fernandes Law Office, Fernandes believes it’s important for businesspeople to give back to the community they operate in.

And at Bruyère, there are numerous ways for interested individuals to contribute, whether through volunteering in one of the facilities, sitting on one of the organization’s boards or attending one of the many events around the city that raises funds for Bruyère.

“The world is a community of people. Without each other, we fail,” says Fernandes.

Learn more about Bruyère at bruyere.org.