The Ottawa Rotary Home first opened in 1982 after many years of planning. The land for the building was rented from Central Mortgage and Housing on a 75 year land lease, and the Rotary Club of Ottawa raised $290,000.00 towards the capital costs of the Home. Construction of the building was completed in October 21, 1981. With an operating budget of $150,000 the Home was officially opened on June 14, 1982, by the Hon. Frank Drea, then Ontario’s Minister of Community and Social Services. The Home at this time was named “The Rotary Home for Crippled Children”, and the Ministry of Community and Social Services was committed to 97% of the operating budget. The Rotary Club of Ottawa made up the remaining 3%.
Respite was a new idea at this time as children with severe disabilities had usually been institutionalized away from home. We were the first respite care facility of its kind in Canada. Over the years the occupancy rate soared, indicating a great reliance on the program by the families in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario. Today, over 281 families are registered with The Ottawa Rotary Home. Although some use it frequently, others only like to know it’s there “just in case”.
The foundation of the organization was built on providing respite services to our community. We pushed forward with our mission to provide respite not only to children but to adults with disabilities who weren’t quite ready to move out of their family home. To complete the full continuum of care, the organization felt that it could maintain that same vision and philosophy in opening a full-time residential home to families who were ready for that next step. As we opened our doors in 1982 to respond to a community need, the organization continues to respond by developing a full range of services for children and adults with physical disabilities living in our community.
The board hired the first Executive Director to the Home, Miss. Paula Goff. Miss Goff oversaw the exciting challenges of beginning the program.
Miss. Paula Goff resigned due to family reasons and Mrs. Faith Detchon took over the position of Executive Director. Faith Detchon was the director from 1983–2004 and guided the Home as it grew into the successful program it is today.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services began funding 100% of the operating costs.
In response to objections raised to the word “crippled” the name of the Home was officially changed to “The Ottawa Rotary Home”.
We received additional funding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services to begin our Multiple Special Needs (MSN) Program. Renovations began to expand the Home in order to accommodate 3 extra beds needed for the program.
With the addition of registered nurses to the staff, we began to accept children who are medically fragile, technologically dependent, or who have multiple special needs.
We welcomed our current Executive Director, Mrs. Gina St.Amour, who has guided our organization during our expansion into adult services both at a capital and operational level.
It was recognized that there was a need for a manager to oversee the nurses to ensure best practice guidelines were in place and the Home was meeting standards set out by the College of Nurses of Ontario. A Nurse Manager position was created and filled on a part-time basis by one of our staff nurses, Ms. Lauri Cox.
With the expanding responsibilities of the Executive Director in building partnerships with community agencies, and working on the New Home Project, the Nurse Manager position expanded to a full time position that oversaw the daily operations of the Home.
The Ontario Government provides the organization with a 2 million dollar grant towards the New Home Project.
Construction on our new respite home began.
Our 21 bed respite home in Leitrim opened it’s doors ― 2009 was an expansion year at the Rotary Home as we commenced our adult respite program at our new Leitrim campus while opening our residential home for adults at our Rochester campus. We welcomed six individuals from the Rideau Regional Centre and two from the community into our family. Our residential program assists individuals with physical disabilities and complex medical needs requiring specialized care. We were delighted to meet these wonderful individuals and their families and embraced the care they require from a medical, social and emotional vantage point.
The residential home at 30 Rochester was completely renovated and that location welcomed new residents on March 17, 2009.
The Leitrim Campus survives the flood!
The Rotary Home’s Leitrim Campus breaks grounds with a new Splash Pad and Memorial Gardens.
Celebrating 30 Years of providing respite to families and caregivers from June 14, 1982 – June 14, 2012. A new street is named on behalf of the Ottawa Rotarians entitled ‘Rotary Way” and dedicated by Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson on June 30th.
The Ottawa Rotary Home offered 889 overnights of adult respite and continues to expand adult day program services.
With final pledges being accounted for through the official capital campaign, a formal Ottawa Rotary Home sign is erected at the entrance to the Ottawa Rotary Home on Rotary Way.
In the last few years, the nights of adult respite have continued to grow reaching over 1800/year. Our adult day program also continues to expand with individualized fee for service contracts.