Movin’ on Up: Saying Goodbye to the Hoyles Escasoni Complex


If you have ever moved house you know what a daunting task it can be. While the prospects of packing all your items and moving family members may be overwhelming, it is often welcomed as it represents an opportunity for new beginnings. As with any change, there are mixed emotions.

Hoyles-Escasoni Complex, Eastern Health.

Hoyles-Escasoni Complex, Eastern Health.

Next week, we the staff at Hoyles Escasoni Complex, will help move 375 residents from our existing historic home to a new state-of-the-art larger home. You can imagine the varied emotions we are faced with while tackling this massive move!

As moving day approaches, our excitement rises; however, we are still reminiscent and a little anxious.

The new St. John’s long-term care facility. Photo courtesy of Marco.

The new St. John’s long-term care facility. Photo by Greg Locke Photography, courtesy of Marco Services Limited.

Aside from ensuring that the move goes smoothly, staff are also wondering what their new work environment will be like. Questions arise, like “what will working at the new building be like? Will I still see all my co-workers in this large new facility? Will I miss the place where I first started my career years ago?”

Don’t get me wrong – we are excited for our residents who will have various specialty features at the new home, such as single room accommodations and a wandering path for dementia patients. Staff are also very excited, as we will benefit from well-designed ergonomic spaces to provide resident care, modern work stations, new staff lounges and lockers, a fitness room, a food service café and a gift shop.

Even with all the excitement, we still felt it was important to celebrate the years we spent at Hoyles Escasoni Complex, which is exactly what we have been busy doing this past year!

In recognition of the forthcoming move and to prepare staff for the change, we established the Hoyles Escasoni Relocation Celebration Committee in June 2013, of which I am the chair! The committee consists of representatives from various professional backgrounds working at the Hoyles Escasoni Complex, who all bring something different to the table.

We decided to adopt the theme of “Movin’ On Up” for our good-bye celebrations, which was inspired by the television sitcom titled the Jeffersons. In promotion of the theme, we created a contest where staff members or groups could re-write a verse of the original television theme song. There were 19 submissions and Gerard Littlejohn, a licensed practical nurse at the Hoyles Escasoni Complex, submitted the winning entry!

We kicked off our events last summer with a staff appreciation barbeque, a pig roast dinner and dance at Lester’s Farm and some family fun activities! The events were well received, so we knew that we had to keep up the good work and continue to deliver.

Amongst the many events, here are a few of the most memorable:

Memorial event

Last November, we held a memorial event to remember 108 staff members who have passed away who committed many years of dedicated service at the Hoyles Escasoni Complex. Support from past and present staff was tremendous, with many participating in the service by assisting with readings and prayers. For example, David Parson, a nurse practitioner at Hoyles Escasoni Complex, paid homage to Jane Gibbons, who was once the director of the Hoyles Nursing Home. You may recognize Jane Gibbon’s name as the auditorium at the Hoyles Building is named after her!

Annette Gaulton, a social worker at the Hoyles Escasoni Complex, made the following comment about the event: “It was a little emotional and sad, but it was good to reflect and remember our former colleagues. We had spent some really good times working with these folks and it was nice to honour them this way.”

The memorial event was such a success that we have decided to carry it on at our new site for many years to come.

Gala Celebration Week

In April 2014, the committee hosted a Gala Celebration Reunion Dinner and Dance at the Holiday Inn for both current and retired staff.  The event was attended by 170 current and former staff and their partners. The mood of the evening was one of friendship and nostalgia!

Present and past staff at the Gala Celebration Reunion Dinner and Dance.

Present and past staff at the Gala Celebration Reunion Dinner and Dance.

Colleen Kennedy, co-chair of the Hoyles Escasoni Relocation Celebration Committee, enjoyed the event.

“The reunion was an absolutely amazing event for everyone; it was truly a memorable occasion,” Colleen said.

A display at the Gala Celebration Reunion Dinner and Dance.

A display at the Gala Celebration Reunion Dinner and Dance.

A slide show was prepared displaying old photos of the Hoyles Escasoni Complex, as well staff from the years gone by.

Entertainment was provided by members of the Perlin Players, who were a huge hit!

The Perlin Players performing at the Gala Celebration Reunion Dinner and Dance.

The Perlin Players performing at the Gala Celebration Reunion Dinner and Dance.

Celebratory Walk

This past Sunday (September 7) you may have seen some employees from the Hoyles Escasoni Complex taking part in celebratory walk! We began the walk at the Hoyles Escasoni Complex and proceeded to the new site on Newfoundland Drive via Portugal Cove Road.

The walk celebrated the new facility, but also provided us with an opportunity to reflect on the memories created at the Hoyles Escasoni Complex and the quality care provided to residents over the years.

The walk was a very symbolic gesture that signified us leaving the Hoyles Escasoni Complex, and journeying to our new home.

We even took some shrubs from the Hoyles Escasoni Complex and planted them at the new facility, as a symbol of this positive transition and to ensure we do not forget where we came from!

Staff replant a shrub from Hoyles Escasoni Complex at the new St. John’s long-term care facility.

Staff replant a shrub from Hoyles Escasoni Complex at the new St. John’s long-term care facility.

Official Closing of Hoyles Escasoni Complex

We will officially say goodbye to the Hoyles Escasoni Complex tomorrow, September 12, with a closing ceremony at the Jane Gibbons Auditorium in the Hoyles Building.

There will be a number of special guests in attendance, including the Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Health and Community Services and Minister Responsible for Aging and Seniors, Don Keats, Interim President and CEO of Eastern Health, Alice Kennedy, Vice-President with responsibility for long-term care, and Art Morgan, Administrator of the Hoyles Escasoni Complex. There will also be remarks from Margaret Adey, Chair of the family council for Hoyles Escasoni Complex, and Colleen Kennedy, a staff representative.

Once the formal ceremony is completed, staff will have one last gathering celebration at the Hoyles Escasoni Complex, before we move next week!

It has been exciting, as well as challenging, to bring our ideas of celebration to fruition. It is hard to believe that after this week, we will say goodbye to the Hoyles Escasoni Complex. But I can say with confidence that we are ready to move forward and make the exciting move to the new long-term care facility!

As we prepare to walk away from the familiar and comfortable Hoyles Escasoni Complex, we are now ready to fully embrace the excitement of moving into our new facility and continuing to offer the quality care to residents that we have been so honoured to have offered to date.

The new St. John’s long-term care facility. Photo courtesy of Marco.

The new St. John’s long-term care facility. Photo by Greg Locke Photography, courtesy of Marco Services Limited.

This story was written by Rick Maher, chair of the Hoyles Escasoni Relocation Celebration Committee and divisional manager of Pastoral Care and Ethics at the Hoyles Escasoni Complex.

4 responses to “Movin’ on Up: Saying Goodbye to the Hoyles Escasoni Complex

  1. Great job Rick! I have many great memories of working at Hoyles/Escasoni. I wish the staff & residents ‘All the Best” as they relocate to the new facility!!

  2. Great Job to all the Staff members! I have lots of great memories as well of the Staff and Residents. May this move be a wonderful 1 for all of you, to the new Facility !

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