A recent donation from the Fort Saskatchewan Rotary Club will help make the city’s new hospice more comfortable for patients and their families.
The Heartland Community Hospice Foundation has worked for years to bring a hospice facility to Fort Saskatchewan, raising money and spreading the word about the need for better end-of-life care in the city.
A six-bed hospice opened in early August at the Rivercrest Care Centre. The Rotary Club’s $10,000 gift is enough for the foundation to outfit one of the new rooms with lamps, decor, appliances and other touches of home.
Heartland Hospice Foundation board secretary Michelle Johnston said that with no hospice in the city, terminally ill patients were travelling to Edmonton and beyond for care.
“And here in the Fort, the year before the hospice opened, about 87 people died in hospital that could have been in hospice with a more comfortable level of care, more in and out privileges for family members to be there with their loved ones at all times,” she added.
The foundation is continuing to raise money to equip the new rooms with items that will ease the journey for patients and caregivers.
“One suggestion was a larger bed size so that loved ones and couples could actually lay together in the bed and not just be a single bed,” Johnston said. “Things to make it more homelike.”
Rotary Club president Stu Hennig believes the hospice is a huge step for Fort Saskatchewan.
“We haven't had this, and folks as you may know had to go to the hospital to end their days. They didn't have any comfortable place. They couldn't necessarily be kept at home. And we recognized that.”
Johnston said that the hospice board is overwhelmed by the support from community groups like the Rotary Club and from local businesses.