Local Rotarians had the opportunity to hear a fresh perspective on operations at Hospice Prince Edward on Tuesday.
Members of the local service club heard from Sandra Barnes, Executive Director of Hospice Prince Edward. A recent addition to Hospice, Barnes started in her role October 2022 and is just finishing up six months with the organization.
“I can tell you I feel so blessed to be part of that organization,” Barnes expressed. “The staff are so compassionate, so caring and we know everyone that comes through our door is well received and cared for, it just gives me such great pleasure and it’s such an honour to be part of Hospice Prince Edward.”
Prince Edward County’s residential hospice facility started operations October 19, 2013 and is a charitable organization in the community. The mission of the organization is to help people and families facing death and provide a quality of life for those with terminal and palliative conditions. Hospice also offers grief and bereavement support for anyone who is affected by a life limiting illness all through out Prince Edward County.
“We’re very pleased that we’ve been such a pillar in our community for so many years and we owe much thanks to the support of Rotary Club of Picton for their support,” added Barnes.
Hospice Prince Edward’s residence is a beautiful, three bedroom home in the heart of Picton on Downes Ave and can be a pleasant respite for those coming from hospital.
“It is a home, we are not clinical, we do provide that kind of care, but when you walk through the door it is warm, it’s inviting, you want to be there,” expressed Barnes. “And families quite often just breathe a sigh of relief, especially if they’ve come from a medical setting.”
The organization has served over 300 people in the residence since it started taking patients in the fall of 2013 and has helped over 600 within the community as Hospice Prince Edward supports people at their own homes.
“We support people in the community as well,” Barnes stated. “The most important thing and one thing we are very, very proud of as an organization is that all of our services are free of charge.”
Hospice has two streams of staffing within the organization.
“One is what I call our administrative staff, we also have caring compassionate staff, we have two RPNs right now and we have four PSWs,” Barnes said. “Of course we compliment that staffing arrangement with some casuals as well but these are our core group of people. One thing I love about our Hospice is we have consistency in staffing so as a family member you not going to have that turn over in staff. You are going to see the same PSW every day when your there, they are going to get to know you, get to know your loved one, make sure they know your likes and dislikes. So the quality of your care is going to be so much greater and so much improved then you may have experienced elsewhere. So it’s that consistency that is so important.”
Hospice Prince Edward receives funding through the Ministry of Community Care and Social Services and the Ministry of Health but that funding is only for the direct care that the three beds in the residence receives.
“Everything else we have to fundraise or get through grants,” explained Barnes. “That’s why we’re so fortunate to have a relationship with Rotary and with others in our community because we need to have that fundraising support.”
Some of the programs and services Hospice offers the county are:
- The residential hospice
- The visiting volunteer program
- Grief and bereavement support
- Practical caregiver training program – new
- And volunteer opportunities
“We have our visiting volunteer program,” Barnes stated. “And essentially what that is, is that if you are living in the community and you have some kind of an illness that is life limiting, you can contact us, we will match you with a volunteer that will come out and visit with you, providing companionship, friendship and respite for your caretaker so that person can leave for a few hours knowing that your safe at home.”
For their grief and bereavement support, it is either on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting.
“We have just opened up to do some group support which has been really fantastic,” said Barnes. “Many people think about palliative care or a hospice in the latter days of their illness and what we want to promote that once you have a diagnosis of a life limiting illness to please contact us, we can provide grief support for yourself, for your family, we can walk along side you and if great things happen and your health improves, then we’ll just back away, but if you need us we will be there. But it’s nice if we have that relationship early, then you are able to come into hospice you know us, we know you and you’re just cared for right along your full life’s journey.”
The organization has 52 active volunteers but are always looking for new people to join.
“If your interested in maybe doing visiting volunteering or being in the community in some way helping with fundraising events, maybe some administrative duties, complimentary therapies, whatever you might want to do to support us we would be happy to have you,” Barnes added.
What Hospice Prince Edward does for the community is they offer caregiver training support, information sessions, special events, equipment loans and complimentary therapies.
“When we think about hospice and especially the residence it is in the final days but in that community we could be with you for years or months before you transition into the residence itself,” expressed Barnes. “And of course we provide grief and bereavement support along every aspect of your illness. So right from diagnosis to beyond death where we support your family. Hospice Prince Edward has an incredible reputation in our community and for that we are so proud. The testimonials we receive, the thank you notes that we have we try and share that in our newsletter each month and of course at our Annual General Meetings as well. So we try and share that out, we know we do a good job but it’s wonderful when we receive the accolades from our families.”
Barnes mentioned Hospice Prince Edward is governed by a Board of Directors and will be looking for new members.
“We are having our AGM the end of June,” said Barnes. “At that time we will be inviting new applicants for the board, so you may want to consider being a member of our board of governors. We’re going to be advertising in the next few months for positions that will be opening up.”
For more information on Hospice Prince Edward please visit https://www.hospiceprinceedward.ca/