Today's blog entry is a follow-up to an earlier post about a new palliative care facility for the Quinte region. It will be a six-bed facility for those who are coming to the end of life and require a supportive environment which addresses their unique needs. Many people die in hospitals, which are not well suited to this sort of care. I've certainly witnessed the compassion of hospital staff members with dying patients but they are not designed or intended for end of life care.
Not long before I retired in this area there were three elderly terminally ill members of our congregation who were on the same floor at Trenton Hospital. Their families were supportive but all lived in Belleville, so both family and friends had to make the drive to do so, as did the two of us from the church who provided pastoral care. When we were there it seemed that we were always figuring out how to make their rooms places of care which allowed for intimate conversations when they weren't designed for that purpose.
There was a ground-breaking for the facility this past week, one of those curious events of the COVID era which end up looking more like a group photo for a bank robbery. The Executive Director of Hospice Quinte, Jennifer May Anderson noted that in 2019 twenty-seven clients spent their final days in hospital when they would have been eligible to be a hospice resident. She offered:
The Hospice Quinte Care Centre will provide a special kind of holistic care for those who are in the advanced stages of a life-limiting illness when a cure is no longer possible and where the goal is to provide comfort and dignity and the best quality of life for them and their families. It’s also about providing families with the support they need as they transition through their loved one’s illness, their death and finally bereavement.
It's often noted that in Jesus' ministry there were both cures and healings, and in a time long before the advent of modern medicine the lines between the two were fluid. Often healing comes in the form of an emotional and spiritual environment which may also address physical pain. Hospice and palliative care recognizes that people deserve to be supported and cherished when they are beyond the possibility of a cure with intentional, wholistic healing.
A year from now Hospice Quinte Care Centre may be providing that environment, for which we can all be grateful.