It was a celebration of years of critical community service.
On Monday, Hospice Prince Edward board members, staff, and volunteers invited the public to the residential hospice at 40 Downes Ave. in Picton to share in tours, a barbecue, and cake in celebration of the facility’s fifth anniversary and 28 years of hospice care in Prince Edward County.
Hospice Prince Edward president Peter Matthewman said it’s rewarding to look back on how hospice has evolved. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is the main principle of the service and that’s neighbours looking after neighbours, he said.
“The addition of the residential component five years ago added complexity to the operations of hospice,” Matthewman said. “When the board of Hospice Prince Edward took the bold decision to build a residential hospice, it changed the organization in many ways.”
The service now owns land, a home, and a garden. There are meeting rooms to come up with plans and develop ideas, discuss problems, and where therapeutic interventions such as massage therapy are provided. There’s a kitchen where hospice volunteers with food safety certification make delicious homemade soup and cookies. That’s in addition to the main floor where hospice provides a comfortable, home-like environment where residents and their families can spend time together in comfort, safety, and dignity.
Matthewman said owning the facility comes with added responsibilities. The board understands the importance sound financial management, balanced human relations policies, high standards of clinical care, and strong overall organizational governance, he said.
Matthewman said Hospice Prince Edward isn’t the only organization offering a residential service and hospices around the region are adopting the model.
“Additional multi-bed hospices are being built in Kingston and Quinte,” he said. “This is good news. Collaboration with these hospices will help us to tailor the best palliative care for our respective communities.”
When the new hospices open, he said, they will be hiring their clinical staff directly and Hospice Prince Edward will be working to bring the same type of direct clinical staffing model to the organization.
Hospice Prince Edward’s annual operating budget for all programs including the residence is $322,500 and after deducting government funding of 22 per cent, the organization must raise $251,000 annually or $21,000 per month to provide the service.
He said that means fundraising is critical and so is community support.
“This past year we saw an amazing benefactor step forward and provide a much-needed donation that has stabilized hospice finances,” Matthewman said in thanking Catherine Huff.
Annual fundraising efforts at hospice are focused on two major events — Hike for Hospice and the annual appeal in the fall. Matthewman said these are critical in ensuring the organization’s financial health. Hospice Prince Edward has established a Tree of Life wall to acknowledge the support of donors and benefactors.
“The roots of the tree are now well established in the community and they are a symbol of the growth and strength that is developing at hospice,” he said.
Smokin’ Rednex BBQ food truck was on site Monday serving pulled pork sandwiches and donated 100 per cent of the proceeds to Hospice Prince Edward.