Over the last 12 years, Red Deer Hospice staff and volunteers have provided caring, compassionate end-of-life care for more than 1,200 people.
And as awareness grows about the Hospice’s invaluable work, and the region’s demographics change, the 2005-built facility today stands at 95 per cent capacity. As one of only three hospices in Alberta, “we definitely have people who are waiting for beds,” says Evelyn Storm, executive director of the Red Deer Hospice Society.
“This work is incredibly important. Over the years, the Red Deer Hospice has become recognized for providing end-of-life care that is compassionate, in a setting that is peaceful and calm,” Storm reflects.
To continue to meet that demand, an exciting expansion is underway.
The current 10-room hospice will expand by 15,000 sq.ft. over three floors. The space will provide room for additional beds – allowing them to welcome about 100 more people each year – but the $5.2 million expansion project will also do so much more.
In addition to adding new beds, the expansion will include:
• expanded kitchen, medication room and nursing station
• multi-purpose areas for education opportunities, respite care and day programs
• dedicated storage spaces for medical supplies and equipment, records and event materials
• six new private resident care rooms; additional soaker tub and shower rooms
• dedicated family gathering spaces and quiet areas; and renewed sanctuary space
With just over $1 million raised so far, “we are building – the hole is in the ground, the foundations are started, it’s a go,” says Val Hilario, former executive director and now expansion fundraising co-ordinator of the build.
The local impact
It’s estimated that for every resident who comes into Red Deer Hospice, another five friends and family members come through the doors, or benefit for programs such as counselling or check-in phone calls, meaning another 5,000 people will be supported through the increased bed space alone.
“While not everyone chooses to die in hospice care, those who do should have the opportunity,” Hilario says, noting there’s no cost to stay at Red Deer Hospice and that will not change with expansion.
While the bulk of operating costs are funded by donations, with the expansion, Alberta Health Services has also committed additional operating funds, Hilario says.
How can you help?
From direct donations to gifts in memory of a loved one, or legacy gifts, all will make a difference. Watch too for a variety of special events over the coming months!
“We are so thankful for the tremendous amount of community support we have,” Storm says.
Completion of the new facility is expected in early 2020, but until then, the specialized palliative care the Red Deer Hospice team is known for continues. For more information, call 403-309-4344. Visit online to donate today!