In 1897, Lady Aberdeen, the wife of Canada's Governor-General, saw the need to reach out to the community, to have a home visiting nurse program. An organization was established with founding branches across Canada, under the name The Victorian Order of Nurses or VON.
In 1911, a group of community-minded citizens in the West Island of Montreal opened a branch with programs related to the specific needs of the community. The first nurse hired was supported by local churches. She was bilingual; visits were arranged where emergencies had priority; her "cab fare" was paid by the patients; and the cost was $0.10 to $0.15 per visit.
Over the years our organization responded to changinjg community needs, providing home care after surgery, palliative care, assistance for new mothers and much more.
In 1972, the provincial network of local community health centers (CLSC) was established and took over home nursing services. VON Ste Anne and District, as we were known, saw an unfilled need in the area of home palliative care. A service began, available to all without regard for ability to pay, and was designed to have a high volunteer component in addition to the nursing service. The branch continues to offer in home palliative care, low cost foot clinics and adult day centers, in addition to free adult and children bereavement programs.
This branch has served the West Island community under the names VON Ste Anne and District, VON West Island and now NOVA West Island.