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Wakefield palliative care home planned for fall 2015

A new, six-bed palliative-care home could open in Wakefield, Que., in the fall of 2015 if organizers and volunteers can raise $2.2 million and secure land for the centre.

Dr. David Gold, palliative care expert, spearheads new 6-bed home

Dr. David Gold is a palliative care doctor based in Wakefield, Que., who said he first had an idea for a palliative-care home in the area in 2009. (Stu Mills/CBC)

A group of western Quebec residents are pushing for a new $2.2-million palliative-care home for Wakefield, Que., which would serve what they say is a growing need in the community.

The six-bed home, which would be called La Maison des Collines, is aimed at the 35,000 residents in the area of La Peche, Chelsea, Val-des-Monts and Cantley, who have less than three months to live.

The 7,000-square-foot home would collaborate with palliative care services and networks in western Quebec to ensure there is continuity through the health-care system, according to its website.

It would also provide temporary accommodation for pain control or other symptom management, respite care, support for family and friends and training for volunteers.

The project is long overdue, according to Wakefield residents backing the project. They will pitch the idea to councillors with the Municipality of La Peche on Monday evening, seeking financial support.

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Project 6 years in the making

Dr. David Gold, who works in palliative care, said he discovered a gap in care in 2009 because home visits only helped people during normal work hours.

The greatest need came at night and on weekends and the Wakefield Hospital has only one palliative-care bed, he added.

Gold, who does home visits himself, said a Wakefield palliative-care home would provide aspects of an effective palliative care centre a hospital often can't provide.

"[People are] looking for an opening, welcoming environment where they can feel part of a community and they can live fully until they die," Gold said, adding quiet and sun are priorities.

"[You don't want] a sense of busyness that, sort of, runs contrary to the needs of people as they approach death."

Negotiations are underway to secure land for the palliative-care home in Wakefield, which would be central to the four regions it would serve.

Gold said if the group can secure the money needed to build the centre, as well as the land, construction could begin in the spring and the home would hopefully open in the fall.

"The way people leave us stays with us for the rest of our lives, so it's critically important not only for the person who's at the end of his or her life, but for family members and loved ones, as well," Gold said.

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