Hospice Hub asks Smiths Falls for $25K toward providing care

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Posted on: January 30, 2024

Monday evening’s Committee of the Whole meeting in Smiths Falls began with a delegation from the Hospice Hub. Anne Janssen of the Hospice Hub described the value and benefits of hospice care in the community.

“Hospice is a philosophy of care that delivers palliative care at the end of life,” Janssen said. The Hospice Hub is an organization that seeks to link individuals with all the care they need: medical, caregiver support, grief and bereavement, home support, education, hospice beds, etc. 

Dying is not a medical event, she said. It is a social event that happens in the family and community. It affects the person who is dying, and their social circles. However, 70% of people are often hospitalized for their final days. At least 70% of people would prefer to die at home, Janssen shared. “I’m surprised it’s not 30% more,” commented Mayor Pankow.

Hospitalization costs twice as much as hospice care, and ten times as much as dying at home. Dying in hospital also creates distress for those who would prefer to die at home, and distress for families who are grieving. 

With an approximate death toll of 675 people each year, we have roughly two deaths per day in our community, Mayor Pankow pointed out. With hospice care in dying being significantly less expensive than hospital care, why isn’t the province rushing to fund this option instead, when people prefer it?

Janssen agreed. “There seem to be more levels of bureaucracy than less,” she laughed, “but they do want to see that the community is behind it.”

In Lanark County and Smiths Falls, Janssen explained, our region is aging at an unprecedented rate. We have an acute care crisis, with hospitals over capacity, and palliative care suites in the hospital are needed for acute levels of care. There is currently no day care program or hospice bed, and there is one palliative care Nurse Practitioner for the entire region. Outpatient palliative care clinics are an hour’s drive away (Kingston/Ottawa). Dying people are relying on their family doctor to deliver end-of-life care. 

Paramedics are currently providing community care programs; LLG Ontario Health Team has Hospice/Palliative Care as their new priority; and the Hospice Hub is up and almost running. In 2018, 4 hospice beds were allocated to our region. The Hospice Hub was incorporated in March 2023; allies and partners have been helping get it off the ground – it is part of the larger network of community care providers, along with PSFDH and Community Care. An unexpectedly large amount of community involvement and volunteers is exciting moving forward. 

Asking $25,000 from the town of Smiths Falls to build the foundation and to get this organization up and running: training volunteers and to get these beds into the community. The Hospice Hub’s goal is to raise $125,000 for the year. 

“We will use every dollar wisely and carefully. It lowers overall healthcare costs; it reduces hallway healthcare. This is very meaningful work; it taps into the incredible strengths and compassion of the community. Most importantly, it increases the quality of life for those who are dying,” Janssen said. 

Council thanked Janssen for her presentation.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News