Huron Hospice expansion amidst loosening of visitor restrictions

Dignitaries usually cut ribbons but at the recent launch of Huron Hospice’s expansion fundraising goal, MPP Lisa Thompson cut a 2x4 piece of wood with a circular saw instead.

“We are halfway towards a major milestone,” said Huron Hospice Board Chair, Jay McFarlan. “We have a capital grant for $680,000 ready and waiting for us when we raise a matching $680,000 and we are about halfway towards our $680,000.”

The Huron Hospice Residence is expanding from four to six beds, along with many other improvements. They need to raise $1.6 million dollars to do so. The province is kicking in about half of the total, leaving the community to cover the rest.

“Everyone knows when it comes to efficiencies and you marry that with the quality of life, it’s one of the best investments we can make,” said Huron-Bruce M.P.P., Lisa Thompson.

The Huron Hospice Residence near Clinton opened in 2018. They’ve operated end-of-life care for Huron-Bruce residents at almost full capacity everyday since, except during COVID.

“During COVID we’ve seen more people wanting to stay at home as long as they possibly can because of visitor restrictions. So, we have been seeing a decrease in occupancy during COVID. But now that we’re easing out of the pandemic, we can gather in groups again and visitor restrictions are loosened, so we are seeing a return of that high occupancy rate we saw before COVID,” said McFarlan.

Since 2018, the provincial government has spent $40 million to add 200 new hospice beds in Ontario.

“We can do hospice palliative care at the residence for one third of the cost of what is costs in an acute hospital bed. So by the province supporting the operations of providing care at hospice, it’s already saving money and helping to end hallway medicine,” said McFarlan.

The Huron Hospice board hopes to have the money raised as soon as possible so they can trigger the province’s matching funds and start construction on the expansion early next year.