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Residential hospice a reality with $85,000 boost from gala

Wayne Carruthers announces a $25,000 donation from Bernie Farnholtz, of Rednersville Road, and his sons Bernie and Matthew, in loving memory of their wife and mother, Sheila Louise Farnholtz, who received hospice care until her passing in 2010.

A gala fundraising event became an evening of grand celebration for Hospice Prince Edward as executive director Nancy Parks announced the goal of community residential hospice services will be realized with the purchase of a three-bedroom home in Picton.

Applause and cheers broke out from the sold-out event crowd attending the Autumn Leaves Gala, at the community centre in Wellington.
Parks told the crowd that “in a few weeks, hospice will close a deal to purchase a three bedroom home, well kept, solidly built, in Picton, which will be operational by April 1, 2013.”

Hospice Prince Edward’s first gala event was attended by more than 200 people Saturday night and raised about $85,000.

“A residential hospice is a home away from home. Patients and family are both included in the care plan and emotional, spiritual and practical support is given based on the patient’s wishes, and the family’s needs,” said Parks.
“A residential hospice speaks to expectations, needs, hopes and fears. All staff and volunteers are specially trained to offer care for family members as well as meaningful support to the patient. Hospice affirms life in a caring community. The goal of the hospice team is to be sensitive and responsive to the special requirements of each individual and family. A residential hospice is an option that every community should have for its residents – rural or urban. It is an extension of our work that hospice already does in our community as part of the circle of care. It is something that is a goal of all hospices and for us, 20 years it has been a goal, and one we have been actively working on for the past couple of years.”

Support for hospice has been abundant in the County this year. Hospice Prince Edward’s first Hike for Hospice witnessed the community collect more than $52,000 and its first Largest Coffee Morning, held in about 50 County homes, churches and coffee shops raised $22,500 toward the development of the facility.

“We are thrilled to announce that Hospice Prince Edward has purchased “a home of our own”, said board chair Birgit Langwisch. “There is such tremendous support and momentum here in the County, that the board of directors has decided to move forward with our community residential hospice project at 40 Downes Ave.”

Last November, County council approved, in principle, a proposal from Hospice Prince Edward to turn Benson Hall in Picton into a residential hospice facility to provide end-of-life care on a 24-hour basis, by professional staff and volunteers in a home-like setting at no cost to the client.

Hospice had been working with the South East Local Health Integration Network (SELHIN) for a year, then learned that no decisions on funding for any residential hospice projects would be made until February/March, 2013, after a regional review of the sustainability of all hospice services was completed.

“At our annual general meeting two days later, we promised to explore options not previously considered, in order to make available the residential hospice services that our clients and their families need (and deserve) in this community sooner, rather than later,” said Langwisch. “We wrote to the SELHIN expressing our concern and disappointment and then we turned our minds to considering what we most wanted, looking with fresh eyes at what was available – donated space, rental space or even the possibility of purchasing a suitable home, if one was already out there.”

Langwisch explained that in the meantime, the SELHIN changed its strategy, announcing its intention to develop two or three designated pilot sites to deliver residential hospice services in the region.

“They indicated that those hospices designated as pilot sites would be informed in January 2013 and that operational funding would flow for the fiscal year, 2013-2014. The pilot projects would then be evaluated and operational funding would then be designated on a sustainable basis if the sites showed an impact on the healthcare system and value for money.

“In late October, a wonderful home came to our attention that with modest renovation could provide three residential hospice beds in our community (including the possibility of future expansion) by April 1, 2013. HPE is confident that we will be designated as a pilot site; however, whether or not that occurs, we are going to ahead with this home. It even has a lighthouse at the front door.”

Going a long way toward helping the residential hospice project unfold, was a second surprise of the gala evening, the announcement of a $25,000 donation from Bernie Farnholtz, of Rednersville Road, and his sons Bernie and Matthew, in loving memory of their wife and mother, Sheila Louise Farnholtz, who received hospice care until her passing in 2010.

Gala co-chairs, Joshua and Que Colby, thanked the crowd for its support of the residential hospice project by attending the gala.

“We chose the theme Autumn Leaves for a number of reasons. It is symbolic of the Autumn of our lives which is full of meaning and impermanence. Gone is the rebellious immortality of youth – replaced by the reality of time. Autumn is also a time of beauty. It is a time of giving thanks for a bountiful season preparing for a time of rest. Tonight, we are all working toward building a place wehre we can provide comfort adn warmth for our loved ones who are approaching the end of their life. It truly is a journey. As humans, one of our greatest attributes is empathy, and what better way to manifest this than to care for another.”

During and following a four-course meal, live and silent auctions were held on many and varied items, including a complete high-end camping package put together by the County’s doctors to go along with a top-of-the-line kevlar canoe donated by doctors Colby and Elizabeth Christie. Also on the block were a week’s holiday in Breckenridge, Colorado, a barbecue set and a complete County wine cave.

Dancing followed through the wee hours of the morning to the music of The Reasons.

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  1. Marion Creasy says:

    Great job everyone. Looks as if a good time was had by all. We are getting closer.

  2. Phil Norton says:

    Great video report, CountyLive, and great event by and for Hospice! Congratulations to all.

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