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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Northerners Receiving Compassionate Palliative Care Close to Home

May 2, 2018 -- Living with advanced prostate cancer which spread to his bones and brain, Marcel Arseneault was cared for at home by his family for over a year. When that was no longer possible, he was placed in a palliative care suite at Smooth Rock Falls Hospital.

“For 10 days, the palliative suite was a refuge for him and for us,” said his daughter, Lina. “It is a sanctuary environment that is quiet and private. The walls and flooring are in rich warm tones, lighting is soft and adjustable, medical equipment is hidden. Great care went into ensuring that the suite looks and feels nothing like a hospital room; and the hospital staff were wonderful, responsive and respectful. I can’t thank them enough for their caring professionalism.”

The room at Smooth Rock Falls Hospital is one of 17 new one-bedroom hospice suites in hospitals – made possible by the North East Local Health Integration Network (NE LHIN) and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care – in the following Northeastern communities:

• Blind River
• Chapleau
• Cochrane
• Elliot Lake
• Espanola
• Hearst
• Hornepayne
• Iroquois Falls
• Kapuskasing
• Little Current
• Matheson
• Mattawa
• Mindemoya
• Smooth Rock Falls
• Sturgeon Falls
• Timiskaming Shores
• Wawa

The new beds are located in communities where there has been limited availability of access to hospices or palliative beds. These beds give rural patients more access to expert care, including nursing, social work, and personal support services, as well as help to support families and friends during a difficult time.

“We are committed to improving access to high quality, compassionate palliative end-of-life care across Northeastern Ontario,” said Jeremy Stevenson, CEO, North East LHIN. “Hospice suites provide a vital health care service at a difficult time in people’s lives, and with this expansion, more people living in rural Northeastern Ontario communities are benefiting from their supports.”

The new hospice beds will provide an additional 250 patients and families each year with compassionate palliative care, people like Mr. Arseneault and Lina.

“My father never quite realized where he was,” Lina said, “but I remember him smiling and saying ‘it’s really nice here.’”

• Ontario is providing yearly funding of $105,000 per bed to each of the above community hospitals to operate one-bed hospice suites.
• Funding for these new hospice suites is part of Ontario’s commitment to support up to 200 additional hospice beds across the province.
• As part of the 2018-19 budget, Ontario announced an additional investment of $15 million, bringing new annual funding to $40 million and a total three-year investment of $165 million between April 2016 and March 2019.
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