It’s “devastating” when the Red Deer Hospice Society is too full to accept more residents, says the facility’s executive director.
“Nothing hits harder than having to turn people away. We have a process for bringing people into hospice, but there’s no doubt that people have slipped through the cracks,” said Evelyn Storm.
But the new $5.2-million facility expansion “turns around that trend,” Storm added.
“This provides us with the opportunity to open the door to more people who need that compassionate end-of-life care,” she said.
Dozens attended a grand opening and ribbon cutting to celebrate the hospice society’s expansion on Saturday afternoon.
The expansion increases the existing 10 rooms to 16 private palliative care spaces. Room is also now available for respite care and caregiver relief, day programming and palliative education.
“Not only will the additional 15,000 square feet allow for increased community programs, it means Red Deer Hospice Society will be able to help 100 more families each year,” said Storm.
Hospice staff and volunteers provide 24-hour care to residents and families. Specialized nursing, pain and symptom management, and emotional and spiritual support, prepares residents and their loved ones to say goodbye.
There is no cost to stay at Red Deer Hospice.
James McPherson, chair of the expansion fundraising campaign, said the grand opening was the “culmination of a lot of work and great vision.”
“It really started five years ago, when we started discussions with Alberta Health Services on our operational funding model. We were never going to be in a position of expanding under the operational funding model we were under at that time.
“We negotiated and negotiated and negotiated. Then, about two years ago, AHS came through with a significant increase in our operational funding,” said McPherson.
The province doesn’t provide funding for the construction, said McPherson. The society is still seeking donations to raise the remaining $2.6 million in capital and construction costs.
“We had hoped we’d be able to pay off our build budget by the time we opened … but I am confident this generous community will assist us going froward, and it won’t be too many months until we can pay off our debt,” he said.
Fundraising is also ongoing for resident care.
For more information, visit www.reddeerhospice.com or call 403-309-4344.