“Lionel believed that patients weren’t treated from a book or from all the medical influences any more than they were from the heart,” said Kelland’s widow, Linda, as she viewed the demonstration suite at the hospice named in honour of her late husband’s contribution to health care in the region.
It was 10 years ago this month that Kelland was diagnosed with cancer.
“He treated them like people that had needs, like families that had needs…this is wonderful,” Linda added while viewing the suite for the first time with the couple’s children and the other approximately 30 guests who attended the ceremony at the site of the hospice.
“I think he’d be proud and happy that other families who have to go through a terminal illness knowing the end is coming have this,” she added. “This is a way a family can cope, having the support of others. We were lucky we had each other and our wonderful medical community and wonderful friends. Some people may not have all those resource,s and those last days, weeks, hours, a place like this will make it very peaceful.”
As to the legacy created for her late husband, “It’ll make our hearts go pitter-patter, but will make our hearts smile,” she added.
“It’s going to make it hard to describe to our four grandchildren …. The last one is his namesake, so he’ll know who Poppy was.”
Today’s event was organized to update the public on plans for the province’s very first residential hospice for end-of-life care.
The board of directors for Lionel Kelland Hospice intends to re-construct St. Catherine’s Centre and begin operating the hospice to serve people of the central region.
“Care in hospice is focused on maintaining dignity, increasing quality of life, and providing comfort, including pain and symptom control,” said board chairman Allan Bradley.
The hospice group plans to provide in-patient care services to people who cannot remain at home and no longer need to be in a hospital. Lionel Kelland Hospice will offer a comfortable home-like environment, where medical needs are attended to and the families are provided with supports they need.
Dr. Jeff Cole, who has been involved with the hospice initiative since the beginning, indicated it has been demonstrated throughout the country that there are gaps in the way the very sickest people are cared for, especially as they approach the end of life.
“The way the gaps are being filled is through community-based residential hospices, and there are hospices in 150 communities throughout Canada,” Cole said.
The Presentation Sisters donated the St. Catherine’s Centre property in Grand Falls-Windsor last year, and Sr. Betty Rae Lee, the organization’s provincial leader, believes that the building is continuing on in its role to serve the people of central Newfoundland.
“It is a regional facility that will be a place of comfort and peace,” she said.
Renovation to the building is required and preliminary architectural drawings are complete. It will cost an estimated $3.6 million to construct the hospice.
A model suite has been developed which demonstrates how the hospice will meet the patient’s comfort and medical needs. The design also considers the needs of family members and caregivers who will be present and involved throughout the remaining days of the lives of their loved ones.
In addition to a bed created for patient comfort and safety, the room features a sleeper sofa and furnishings like those most people would have at home. Tastefully decorated with a home-like feel, the peaceful room looks out on a stand of birch.
Bradley said that Lionel Kelland Hospice is receiving outstanding community support, indicating that community groups and individuals in the central region have donated more than $100,000.
“The way that individuals and groups are getting behind this project is nothing short of amazing,” Bradley added.
“Every week we are contacted by people who want to make Lionel Kelland Hospice a reality.”
Bradley also noted it is too early to project an opening date for the facility.
About the project
- The initiative to develop a hospice began in the community. The intention is to create an alternative model for end-of-life care in the central Newfoundland region.
- In the central region, 24 per cent of the population is over the age of 65 years. In 20 years, 40 per cent of the residents will be seniors.
- Palliative patients who cannot stay at home to die often spend their last days in an acute care hospital unit or in an emergency room.
- There are 22 palliative care patients treated per month in the two major hospitals in the central region. The average length of stay in palliative care in these hospitals is 26 days.
- Extensive research has been carried out on the effectiveness of various models of care. Evidence from both Ontario and British Columbia supports the 10-bed residential model as the most effective way of delivering high-quality palliative care.
- Lionel Kelland Hospice will serve the areas covered by Central Health region.
- Even now, many people do not have family members who can provide end-of-life care; especially in rural areas.
- Lionel Kelland Hospice will create approximately 20 full-time positions.
- Having an alternative palliative care facility in central Newfoundland will help ease the burden on acute care beds in hospitals.
- There are residential hospices in more than 150 communities across Canada. The cost of patient care in hospice is less than $500 per day versus $1,100 per day in an acute-care hospital unit.
(Source: Lionel Kelland Hospice Committee)