The Rotary Club of Stratford hosted a standing room only community meeting last week to inform the public about a new study being undertaken to determine whether there is a need for a palliative care hospice in the area.
The Rotary Club has committed $5,000 in seed funding to conduct a first-stage feasibility study. The findings will be released in early 2014.
The over 180 people in attendance at the Kiwanis Centre for the Oct. 29th meeting heard from a variety of community stakeholders, who spoke about the opportunities and challenges that might lie ahead if the study does in fact highlight the need for a residential hospice facility.
Dr. Laurel Moore, chief of staff at Stratford General Hospital, shared her colleagues' overwhelming support for a freestanding hospice in the area, while Dianne Parr, hospice coordinator with Family Services Perth-Huron, noted a centre-based palliative care hospice option for would nicely complement the existing services in the community for end-of-life patients.
Patrick Shanahan, hospice palliative care lead for the South West LHIN, also offered some context regarding funding models, noting there would be both infrastructure and ongoing funding needs that would have to be borne by the community. Jim MacKenzie, past chair of Hospice Wellington in Guelph, gave a comprehensive tutorial accessing all levels of government funds as well.
Former Woodstock mayor Michael Harding also made a presentation, sharing that city's experience establishing the 10-bed Sakura House, a residential hospice. He told those involved in the study to “think big,” and noted while the road ahead might have its challenges, with commitment, talent and perseverance, the goal is attainable.
Additional information regarding the project and how to get involved can be found online at www.rotarystratford.com or on Facebook by searching stratford.perth.hospice.