For the past quarter-century, the Moose Cottage has been a home away from home for patients and families at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.
So named after the Loyal Order of the Moose and Women of the Moose, who were the facility’s original and ongoing funders, the Moose Cottage is a sanctuary of sorts.
There’s a fireplace, several tables with many chairs, country-chic décor, a kitchen always stocked with coffee and goodies, and to boot, the room overlooks the hospital's second floor meditative gardens.
One current patron of the Moose Cottage is former Red Deer city councillor Bev Hughes, who served from 1995 to 2007. Hughes was also on the hospital board in the early 90s and was a founding board member of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation.
He was present for the opening of the Moose Cottage 25 years ago.
“We’ve been here since July. That’s a long time for Bev to be in hospital and it’s such a break from the ward. You get so tired of that,” his wife Faye said at the ‘cottage’ on Thursday. Bev has been a patient at RDRH since having a stroke this summer, and that issue is compounded with his Parkinson’s.
“Not that we don’t appreciate good hospital care and good nursing care, but at least when we're down here visiting with volunteers in a different environment, it feels like we're sort of normal people again, not just hospital patients,” Faye adds.
Over the years, the Moose Cottage has played host to birthdays and wedding receptions, as well as more sombre occasions. It’s also where the hospital’s bereavement support group is held.
“It’s used well and we’re very, very proud of what goes on in this room. I’m very pleased that the Moose continue to support, and I’m proud of the volunteers that make the room happen,” says Brenda Farwell, coordinator of volunteer resources for AHS at RDRH.
“What I see in here is just the lifting of the spirits. They come in here, enjoy a coffee, a sweet treat, or something homemade. It’s a peaceful room and a quiet room.”
Perhaps no one knows better just how peaceful it can be than Lorraine Corsiatto, who’s volunteered in the Moose Cottage for eight years now.
“It’s helping the patients. That’s really important to me because for people like Bev, it gets them out of their room, into a different atmosphere, and it feels like home. Many people come in here and say, ‘Oh, this is just like grandma’s kitchen.’ They love it,” Corsiatto says.
“People that come to visit the patients here in this room say they wish they had a place like this in their hometown they could go and visit.”
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