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Hospice construction to break ground this spring in Kentville

Diana Patterson, Fern Brydon and Dale Sanford stand with a rendering of final design plans for the new hospice to be built as a standalone building onsite at the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville. Ground will be broken this spring.
Diana Patterson, Fern Brydon and Dale Sanford stand with a rendering of final design plans for the new hospice to be built as a standalone building onsite at the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville. Ground will be broken this spring. - Sara Ericsson

Announcement comes after over a decade of fundraising and planning

KENTVILLE, NS – The first hospice in Nova Scotia will break ground this spring after over a decade of community fundraising and planning.

Planning for the project officially began for the project in 2005, when the Valley Hospice Foundation officially teamed up with the then Annapolis Valley District Health Authority.

After so many years, three women who were involved with the project from the very beginning – Dale Sanford, Executive Director of the Valley Hospice Foundation, Diana Patterson, Chair of the Valley Hospice Foundation and Fern Brydon, Manager of Hospice and Palliative Care, Annapolis Valley, with the health authority – are each thrilled to have reached this final stage.

“It’s a sense of relief. We can now break the rear-view mirror and start looking ahead,” said Sanford.

 

A hospice designed to feel like home

The Valley Hospice Foundation teamed up with the then Annapolis Valley District Health Authority in 2005 to begin planning for a modern hospice and palliative care centre onsite at the hospital.

With construction beginning this spring, the foundation will aim to have the facility up and running in 2019.

A close up of the final plans for what the site will look like.
A close up of the final plans for what the site will look like.

The hospice will sit on the hospital’s property, but will be a standalone building surrounded by trees. It will be east of the hospital and adjacent to the Beacon House.

The hospice will have ten beds, a shared kitchen space, and small, cozy nooks throughout, designed to make it feel as close to home as possible, according to Brydon.

Each room will also have a door that opens facing the trees, so patients and families can feel like they’re surrounded by nature during their stay, and furniture that can be adapted to their taste.

The $3.8 million for the hospice’s construction was raised locally by the foundation.

While ownership and operations of the facility will be with the NSHA once the building is complete, the foundation will remain to assist in various ways, and to support the community.

“Staff and volunteers will be at an adequate but modest number, so patients are able to form relationships that are so vital at that stage,” said Brydon.

“We want to create an environment that makes people feel like they’re home”

 

‘The community has been waiting a long time for this’

Patterson, Brydon and Sanford are each looking forward to the project’s completion so needs for end of life care can finally be met in the Annapolis Valley region.

“The community has been waiting a long time for this,” said Patterson.

Planning will continue as the facility is built, to ensure it meets every standard.

Prior to this hospice’s conception, no standards for hospices existed within Nova Scotia, so the foundation codified a list of criteria that have now become the provincial standard.

“We’re proud to have contributed to this,” said Brydon.

“You have to account for every square foot, every little space,” said Patterson.

The foundation’s annual charity walk will be held again this year on May 6, with registration starting in February.

Organizers are hoping to vary the route slightly so that, conditions permitting, it’ll end at the hospice location.

It’ll be an even happier occasion than normal, says Patterson, since people will be able to see where the facility will stand, and the option it affords the community.

“Most people would rather die at home, but that wasn’t always possible. This new facility will give patients and their families a choice where there wasn’t one before,” said Patterson.

“They will be able to be at peace, surrounded by loved ones.”

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