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Hospice finds new home at Rivercrest

Author: Jeff Labine
18 May 2018

The Fort’s new hospice is heading for the Rivercrest Care Centre.

The long awaited palliative care facility was given the go ahead by Alberta Health Services back in February but besides some hints there was little information being released. AHS has confirmed to The Record that a six-bed hospice will be setting up in Rivercrest, which is supported by a Feb. 5, 2018 document from the provincial organization listing Rivercrest as a hospice in the Edmonton Zone.

Further details were revealed during the annual general meeting for the Heartland Community Hospice Foundation on May 10. Lisa Makin, president of the foundation, said there’s some sensitivity around the announcement, which is why few details have been announced.

“With the 12 long-term beds being closed for the six hospice beds, they’re saying wait, let us do the announcements so that they get that announcement correct,” Makin said. “It is just not our announcement to make. They wanted to say to the foundation ‘yes, we have heard you, it is coming, it is approved, work with Rivercrest, with your foundation, we’re OK with that’. So we’re basically just waiting for them to give the OK to make a formal announcement.”

Makin explained during the meeting that all that’s left to do is some legal paperwork. She did mention that the delay worked in their favour as they want the rooms to look more inviting and homey. To accomplish this goal, the foundation has taken steps to paint and furnish with mini fridges and other appliances and furniture through donations. The foundation's inaugural jail and bail event helped towards this goal as well and raised more than $17,000.

The foundation is also looking at purchasing lifts for residents as the province won’t be covering that.

Lifts can cost between $3,500 to $5,000.

“If you think of somebody who is going through end of life care, they are basically saying they have stopped treatment so a lot of these patients have mobility issues, they have pain management issues and lifts are really important to help them comfortable get up and move them around the room and facilities,” she said. “I imagine they are determined as an optional expense so it is something we are really hoping to provide for patients to make that as comfortable as possible.”

The foundation is also working towards establishing itself as a registered charity. Makin explained once they have charitable status they can write tax receipts for people’s donations. With so many donations coming in, it is something she would like to be able to offer.

Mayor Gale Katchur said she met with AHS several months ago where they provided her an overview. It was there that she asked if a formal announcement was going to be made but she explained for AHS, the news wasn’t that big of a deal when compared to the work being done in larger city centres like Edmonton.

“It is just a go forward project and not a big deal for AHS,” she said. “It is just normal day-to-day for them. I do believe it is going forward, stuff is happening but they are just a little relaxed on understanding how important it is for our community to be made aware. We don’t want to get mad at the province. This is just a few beds in the Fort compared to what they have in the entire region.” Read more...

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