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The word “Hospice” is quite foreign to most people who have never dealt with the loss of a loved one. In fact, conversations around death and dying are avoided at all costs in most families yet it is one of life’s natural processes that each of us will eventually face.

Generally, people would prefer to die in their own homes if possible but the reality is that hospitals and emergency rooms are where many people end up. There is another option, however. A residential hospice such as MBH is the next best thing to home and since opening its doors in November of 2017, many families have found comfort as they deal with one of life’s most difficult experiences.

Margaret Bahen Hospice is a 10-bed facility that provides 24/7 nursing-medical care, social work services, spiritual support, pharmacy & complimentary therapies to care for our residents and their families. We also have over 150 volunteers that help to keep our costs low while providing loving support.

The Hospice philosophy of care is very resident and family-centred; making sure that pain & symptoms are managed and that not only the physical being is cared for but also the emotional and spiritual needs are met.

Hospice care can begin very early in a person’s diagnosis with a life-limiting illness. Working with Doane House Hospice, a community hospice specializing in grief and bereavement for over 30 years, we also offer care for the caregiver services. By working together, we ensure a seamless continuum of palliative care options to meet the needs of individuals and their loved ones.

“End of Life” and palliative care options are a very personal choice and each individual has a very different set of priorities, beliefs and care needs that all factor into these decisions.

One thing that all residential hospices have in common is that they simply could not survive without the support of their volunteers and donors. We will be looking to recruit new volunteers from the Newmarket and the surrounding community for a number of important roles from visiting with residents to assisting in the kitchen to providing administrative support.

Residential Hospices are also a unique service within our healthcare system because of the funding model that has been adopted. While the Province of Ontario through the Local Health Integration Networks does cover the cost of the nursing and personal care services, every other expense is covered by generous donations. This means that the Margaret Bahen Hospice will need to raise approximately $700,000 in charitable donations on an annual basis for things like food, tv, internet, spiritual care, social work services, music & art therapy, volunteer services and administrative support.

Residential Hospices are a solution to the challenges in our healthcare system. A 10-bed facility is not only a more cost-effective way to provide care but the homelike environment brings dignity, compassion and love to those who need us.