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Pryor HouseA hospice home away from home
The Hospice Society of Greater Halifax is working to provide a home away from home for palliative care patients in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

“This would be a place where people can go to spend their last days or weeks when family and friends can no longer care for them at home, but they don’t need the bells and whistles of a hospital,” says Jacquie Bell, secretary with the Society’s board of Directors. 

“Ultimately,” she adds, “the goal is to have a number of small hospices around the HRM.”

The organization is on its way to attaining that goal. Last year the Society acquired a house in Bedford and is working to transform the heritage building into a residential hospice – the first of its kind in Nova Scotia. The Society is also exploring options for sustained funding of the initiative and the launch of a capital campaign.

“By the fall, we hope to establish a day hospice program, which would be available one day a week for people who are still mobile,” says Jacquie, who coordinates programs and services for the Society. “The program would include an array of activities such as Therapeutic Touch, reiki, games and information sessions with nutritionists and other health professionals.

In the meantime, the Hospice Society has moved its offices into the Bedford building and are running a number of programs including grief support and caregiver support groups. Another initiative involves training volunteers to support individuals and  families in their own homes. “Our volunteers are able to lend a helping hand to people before as well as after they are receiving palliative care ,” says Jacquie. “They can help at any point along the path of a person’s illness.”

“This care,” she adds, “extends to family members and caregivers, helping them to care for their loved one and to care for themselves as well.”

Every few months public talks are also held at the House, called Pryor House Hospice, on an issue related to palliative care. As well, the Society is collecting materials on the topic so it can serve as a community resource for individuals and their families looking for information.

The demand for hospice services is expected to increase in the coming years. “There will be a growing need for these kinds of services with our aging population,” says Jacquie.
 
There are many benefits to residential hospices, she adds. “A hospice costs about one-third what it costs to be in a hospital The atmosphere is also very different. It is set up to be as much like an individual’s home as possible.”

If you would like more information about the Hospice Society of Greater Halifax and its programs, please call (902) 446-0929 between 10:00am and 4:00pm or visit www.hospicehalifax.org.

“Volunteers are also welcome,” says Jacquie “There are always things to do.”

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