Beth Donovan Hospice seeks approval from Province for 2 residential hospice beds


submitted by Sue Walker
Executive Director, Beth Donovan

Over the past 30 years, Beth Donovan Hospice has been actively serving the North Grenville and surrounding area by providing counselling, support groups, caregiver respite, day hospice and medical equipment lending to all residents free of charge.

The only component that is missing are residential beds to allow residents to palliate (i.e pass away) in our own community and not have to travel to Ottawa or further afield.

Up until recently, the Provincial Ministry of Health would only consider applications for 10 bed residential hospices as they were deemed to be the most cost-effective models.

Given the size of our municipality, this community is not in a position to support a facility this large.  However, we would greatly benefit from 2 palliative care beds that would allow individuals and their families to have 24/7 access to important end of life care.

After much discussion and cost analysis, it was determined that it was cost prohibitive to add beds to the existing facility on French Settlement Rd due to having to build a new structure in addition to establishing a well, septic and related infrastructure. 

Therefore, with necessity being the mother of invention, a group of staff and volunteers put their heads together to develop an alternative model for the Ministry’s consideration.

This model would see 2 beds co-located in Kemptville with another facility to reduce overhead costs and facilitate possible staff sharing models. The cost savings to the Ministry of Health and the taxpayer are significant for someone choosing a hospice bed versus a hospital bed. 

This proposed model has been met with much enthusiasm by members of the North Grenville Council and partner agencies in the community. The Mayor of North Grenville has been a champion of this project since assuming her role 4 years ago and presented the proposal to the former Minister of Health Christine Elliot last January 2022. 

Mayor Peckford and Council have been hearing from members of the community who have had firsthand experience supporting loved ones in the last stages of a terminal illness and who have not been able to access a palliative bed in our community. 

Mayor Peckford has said that “families should not be put into the heart wrenching position of having to provide intensive care at home (with very limited support) around the clock for a terminally ill family member who does wish to die in a hospital.  Travelling up to an hour or longer to support a loved one in a hospice facility in the Brockville and Ottawa areas is no longer acceptable when there is a viable option right here in North Grenville.”

MPP Steve Clark has also been a huge supporter of bringing residential beds to North Grenville since Beth Donovan approached him 20 years ago. However, we have not been able to make our dream a reality despite the surge of support that we have received for so many years.

You may wonder why we are writing this article at this time, and the answer is simple … we need your help. The more our community speaks out about the need for dedicated hospice beds, the more successful we will be in achieving our dream. How can you help?

You can contact Mayor Nancy Peckford and MPP Steve Clark and tell them how much you appreciate their support in making the 2 bed model come to fruition for our community. 

Mayor Nancy Peckford can be reached at [email protected] and MPP Steve Clark can be reached at  [email protected]


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