Our History

In 1996 Sheila O’Donovan was invited to the Cambridge Memorial Hospital (CMH) with a group of individuals, including Dr. Charmaine Jones former head of Palliative Care at CMH, to discuss the need for an alternative to institutional and in-home care in Waterloo Region. The group discussed a need to provide a choice for individuals and their families at a time in life when few choices seem readily available.

During the following two years Sheila and her husband, Val, offered a founding gift and began the process of creating a charitable foundation to establish a freestanding residential hospice in Waterloo Region. Lisaard House was registered as a private foundation on August 1, 1998 and opened its doors to its first resident in July of 2000.

Today, the Lisaard House Charity is proud to provide quality end-of-life palliative care for residents at two locations. Lisaard House is a six-bed residential cancer hospice located in Cambridge and Innisfree House, which opened in July 2015, is a 10-bed residential hospice open to individuals facing any end-of-life diagnosis. Both homes welcome residents without charge into a home-like environment, offering support, not only to the resident but also their family. If you require any special assistance, please let us know and we will do our best to meet your needs.

Lisaard House is a non-profit, charitable organization (charitable registration #872749536RR0001) without religious affiliation.

Innisfree House has been open since July, 2015. We are reminded each day of how important it was to open a second residential hospice in Waterloo Region when we see the positive impact Innisfree has already had on so many families.

Innisfree House provides comfort, care and closure to patients and their loved ones through the end-of-life journey.

During the past five years, we have seen a significant increase in referrals for palliative beds in our region. In fact, during 2013, 391 residents of the region requested residential hospice palliative care at Lisaard House, but we were able to accommodate only 147 of those people; the remainder either died at home or in hospital. Unfortunately, this is a pattern that is being seen nationally; we know that nearly 80% of Canadians would choose not to die in hospital, but the reality is that 67% still do. In other words, many acute care beds are being occupied by people who do not desire institutional care, but require more support than can be provided at home.

Palliative care facilities can provide a much needed and desired level of care to bridge the gap between institutional care facilities and home care. And that is why we are delighted that more residents of Waterloo region will soon have another option for spending their final days in a home-like setting when Lisaard House opens a new hospice. Innisfree House will be open to residents with any end-of-life diagnosis and has capacity to provide hospice palliative care to approximately 250 people annually.

By establishing the new 10-bed residential hospice in Waterloo region, the Lisaard House charity is responding to the growing community need for palliative care facilities providing comfort, care and closure to individuals and their families through the end-of-life journey.