Vera Elizabeth McIver
[nee Dombowsky] 1916-2009

Biographical History

Vera Elizabeth McIver (nee Dombowsky) was born on May 11, 1916 in Avonlea, Saskatchewan. She graduated from the Regina Grey Nuns’ Hospital in 1941 and became a special duty nurse.

In 1967, she began a program for seniors in long term care at St Mary’s Priory in Victoria, where she had taken on the role of Nursing Director. At the Priory, Vera McIver revolutionized the care of seniors by introducing social and physical activities to enhance their quality of life, and by making them part of the community, helped reduce their dependence on medications. New roles for nurse and physicians were also introduced, improving the quality of care for those living in residential care.
Vera McIver received national and international recognition, including, in1986, the Order of Canada. She continued her work at St Mary’s Priory until 1979. In 2002, she received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. She died on May 31st, 2009 in Victoria.

See Series 5, file 2 for Forgotten Revolution: A Restorative Care Model for Older Persons, by J,Mantle and J. Funke-Furner (2003).

Scope and Content

Fonds consist of two boxes of material written and published by Vera McIver. Most of this dates from 1967 to the 1980’s. Publications are arranged alphabetically, and include such titles as “Environment in Extended Care” and “Humanizing the Work Space”. Extensive correspondence dates from 1971 to 1975. Many materials, including a videocassette, relate to the Priory method which she developed.

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From McIver's personal collection Graduation photo 1941 BCHNS
From McIver's personal collection Graduation photo 1941 BCHNS
McIver's Personal Collection 1986 photo for Senior Living Magazine, Victoria
McIver's Personal Collection 1986 photo for Senior Living Magazine, Victoria