Mark Clairmont |

PORT CARLING — A first and a last for Hospice Muskoka.

Sandra Winspear the executive director of Hospice Muskoka — and a tireless advocate for the dying with dignity for 25 years — is retiring.

“I am really pleased that the board has hired nurse practitioner (NP) and director of care of Andy’s House, Donna Kearney, to assume the role of executive director.”

Kearney is the first NP in Ontario to be the clinical care coordinator in a hospice.

She took over May 1.

In Ontario, a hospice requires an MRP (Most Responsible Practitioner) to admit orphaned patients to a hospice. An orphaned patient is one where the person’s doctor will not be following them to hospice care while at Andy’s House. This is often because they are not specialists in palliative care.

Kearney was granted privileges by the LHIN to be the first NP in Ontario to be the MRP for residents of a residential hospice.

Like all hospices it requires COVID-19 protocol for staff, volunteers, residents and families to enter Andy’s House.

Kearney and her staff have developed a “triple screening” protocol that is not only effective and allows for more loved ones to visit the residents at Andy’s House but has been recognized province wide as the Best Practice for hospice care.

The transition was marked with stories, flowers and cake.

Said Winspear: “Donna is a true inspiration and innovator in health care. I know that the home fires of Hospice Muskoka and Andy’s House will continue to burn hearty and flourish under her leadership.

“I will continue part time until the end of September 2021 to assist in the transition and try to pass on 25 years of ‘learning from’ and ‘listening to.’ I will focus my attention on fundraising and building our team of supporters in these last months.”

Also as part of her new short-term role, Winspear is “excited” that she will be reaching out to individual hospice supporters who check-in to find out how everyone is coping with the pandemic and to share stories of the past 25 years as well as bring supporters up to date with everything happening at Hospice Muskoka and Andy’s House.

Coined “What’s Up Wednesdays,” she is looking forward to talking to many of you soon.

Nurse practioner Donna Kearney received the keys to Hospice Muskoka’s Andy’s Place from retiring executive director Sandra Winspear May 1.


Celebrating 27 YEARS of ‘Local Online Journalism’

Follow us on at Twitter @muskokatoday & on Facebook at mclairmont1

Leave your comments at end of story.

Send Letters to the Editor at

SUBSCRIBE for $25 by e-transferring to

Or go online to