Hospice Care Ottawa seeks to raise $1.5 million for end-of-life care

Hospice Care Ottawa is asking for more money to provide end-of-life care to more people in the city's west end. The organization, which manages 19 beds in central Ottawa, is extending a fundraising campaign that has already raised $6 million to expand the Ruddy Shenkman Hospice in Kanata.

The non-profit wants to add two more beds to Kanata hospice

Hospice Care Ottawa is planning to launch a $1.5 million fundraising drive to add two more beds to their Kanata hospice. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Hospice Care Ottawa is asking for more money to provide end-of-life care to more people in the city's west end.

The organization, which manages 19 beds in central Ottawa, is extending a fundraising campaign that has already raised $6 million to expand the Ruddy Shenkman Hospice in Kanata.

"Now's the time to add to it, rather than wait and try to do a renovation," said Lisa Sullivan, executive director of Hospice Care Ottawa, a non-profit organization that offers end-of-life and palliative care, services and programs at no cost to Ottawa residents.

The initial $6 million raised by the group meant 10 temporary overnight beds could be turned into permanent beds. Now, Sullivan said they are hoping to raise an additional $1.5 million to cover rising costs and add two more beds.

More hospice beds translate to lower wait times in other parts of the health-care system, said Peggy Taillon, president of the Bruyère Foundation, a Catholic health-care organization, which helped raise money for the cause. 

"Not only is it cost-effective in a system that's under pressure and rationing, but it's also much more appropriate for patients to have a choice between hospital-based care, hospice care or care at home."

The Kanata hospice is Hospice Care Ottawa's first in the west end, but only runs programs during the day. 

Sullivan said even with the Kanata expansion, Ottawa still needs at least 50 more hospice beds. 

She adds that hospices are an integral part of the health-care system, especially as the population continues to age.

"Hospices sometimes, if you think about people dying, you might have the perception that it's a sad place or a scary place," Sullivan said.

"But a full-service hospice that has day programs, that has activities, that has life, that has families...it's just a nicer place to be. It's more like home."

The fundraising campaign will carry through the fall and winter.

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