New Board of Directors Members & Executive Director Update

This winter we saw a number of changes to the Roger Neilson House Board of Directors. We bid farewell to Susan Richardson, who retired in November from her position as CHEO Vice President of Child Development and Community Services. Susan, who had been a member of the board since 2007, was instrumental in the development of Roger Neilson House and will be deeply missed by everyone. We thank her for her many years of service on our board, and wish her all the best in her retirement. We welcomed Anne Huot to our board in January 2018. Anne, who is the former Executive Director of the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC), has begun her new role as the VP of Child Development and Community Services at CHEO.

We also said farewell to Dr. Pranesh Chakraborty. Pranesh joined the board in June 2012 and had been the chair of the Quality Committee of the board since 2013. He was instrumental in overseeing the development of the current RNH Quality Improvement Plan. We thank him for his many years of service and dedication on the board. We welcomed Dr. David Creery to the board in January 2018; he is also chair the Quality Committee. David is the CHEO Medical Director of Patient Safety and a physician in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at CHEO.

In January 2018 we welcomed Caitlin Neil, who joined the board as a community member. Caitlin and her husband Chris Neil are long time honourary chairs of Roger Neilson House, and Caitlin was previously a member of the Ottawa Senators Foundation Board of Directors. Chris and Cait continue to call Ottawa home and have always been very special friends of Roger Neilson House.

Lastly, in January 2018 we welcomed Brad Weir to the board. Brad is the Director of Marketing Communications and Community Investments at the Ottawa Senators Foundation and joins the board as an ex-officio member. Brad brings a wealth of communication expertise to Roger Neilson House and is responsible for the yearly production of the Ottawa Senators Foundation Telethon.

This spring we are very excited about the refresh coming to the second floor of Roger Neilson House! Once complete we will have freshly painted walls, new flooring, and a redesigned more efficient nursing station. This work is scheduled to begin April 30th and should be completed within a few weeks. We will also take advantage of the changing seasons to do some spring cleaning around the house! Stay tuned for more details which will be forthcoming through our regular emails.

We are very excited to be offering summer camp once again this year. This will be our second year of camp and it will be taking place over three different weeks in July and August. Camp will offer children and youth a fun day camp experience with their peers at RNH. We are very excited to see what fun activities our Recreation Therapists will plan for the kids to all enjoy!

Lastly we would like to thank all of our families who provided input on our family satisfaction survey. The results were once again incredibly favourable of our team, programs, and services. They will be posted on the RNH website shortly. On behalf of the entire Roger Neilson House Team, please know it is an honour to do the work we do.

Megan Wright, Executive Director & Les Bell, Chair, Board of Directors

Volunteer Services Update

Volunteer recruitment has continued to be a priority over the past months. We had set a goal to recruit 35 by year end and we are happy to report that we welcomed 45 new volunteers to our team! We do still have several positions available. If you know of someone who might want to join a dynamic volunteer team, please encourage them to visit our website for information, or to get in touch with us at

RNH is fortunate to have talented musicians amongst its volunteer team. As such, volunteers were invited to express their interest in joining a newly formed music committee. We had a number of applications and 7 volunteers were selected. Their role will be to help Danielle Scarlett, Recreation Therapist, develop activities as part of the expanding RNH music program. The committee is meeting every 2 months.

The Visiting Home Hospice service is continuing to grow. Volunteers are now providing in-home respite services to 14 children, including some in more remote communities. We regularly receive feedback from families and volunteers describing their experience as beneficial and enriching, which is always so nice to hear. In addition to parents getting a short break and time to attend to other responsibilities, they appreciate their child having the opportunity to engage in fun, comforting, and educational activities with their volunteer.  Families wanting to apply for the service can contact Lynn Grandmaison Dumond, Nurse Practitioner, at Volunteers wanting to learn more about this opportunity can contact Bruno Perrier, Manager of Community Engagement and Volunteer Relations at

Finally, the Volunteer Advisory Committee has now been formed. It consists of 12 volunteers and 4 staff and leadership members.  We look forward to reporting on our first meeting in the next edition of the newsletter.

Bruno Perrier, Manager, Community Engagement and Volunteer Relations

A message from the Family Advisory Committee Chairperson

The Family Advisory Committee has had a busy Fall and a great start to the New Year. We continued to have meaningful discussions and to provide advice on a number of matters, which included: accreditation; conclusion of the new Strategic Plan process; summer camp evaluation; and a distribution list project to ensure timely and reliable communication with families.

Many of the FAC members had the opportunity to take part in the first-ever RNH ‘Thank-a-Thon’, which was coordinated by the CHEO Foundation. The goal was simply to call RNH donors and thank them for their support. Donors appreciated talking directly with parents who benefited from their generosity.

We also started discussions on the creation of a family engagement framework. The goal is to foster greater family involvement at multiple levels of the organization. As a first step, we learned about some of the family engagement fundamentals from Julie Drury, who is the Chair of Ontario’s Patient and Family Advisory Council, and Lori Hale, from the Change Foundation.

Finally, it was our privilege to recognize Mindy McHardy for her many contribution to the FAC, including as chair. Mindy’s incredible dedication, compassion and collaborative nature were key contributors to the FAC’s growth and success. We are very proud of Mindy who is continuing to be a voice for children, youth and families as a Champlain LHIN Board member.   Thank you and best wishes Mindy!

If you would like to know more about the FAC, please contact Bruno Perrier, Manager, Community Engagement and Volunteer Relations at

Kimberley Waara, Chair, Family Advisory Committee

Rec. Therapy Update: Happy Spring everyone!

As the days are getting longer and the sun is getting brighter, the Recreation therapy department of RNH is getting excited for spring and summer activities.  RNH will be hosting their second annual Spring Fling party in celebration of SPRING. Come celebrate with us by doing crafts, finding fun treats, and eating delicious spring goodies.

In addition, RNH is excited to be offering another fun filled summer of therapeutic recreation activities for the kids including 3 weeks of summer camp! It is going to be a great summer at RNH, keep an eye out on our website’s event page for fun and amazing events just like the Spring Fling.

Roger Neilson House’s parent yoga class is up in full swing as the warmer weather is coming.  Please keep a close eye out on the events page of the Roger Neilson House for the dates of class.

Katt Brook & Danielle Scarlett, Recreation Therapists

Social Work Update: There’s a New Group in Town!

We are pleased to announce that the Grief Recovery parent group began on January 31st at Roger Neilson House. This group is facilitated by Barb Juett, RSW, and Kasia Skrzypek, RN.  It is a program whereby parents can explore feelings of grief and loss in their lives related to parenting a child with multiple complex medical needs. Some of the topics to be discussed include Myths and Misconceptions about Grief, Intellectualizing Losses, Short-term Coping, Loss History Graph, Relationship Graph and a Letter.

Madelena Arnone, Carol Chevalier & Barb Juett, Social Workers