PEI

Charlottetown's $5.6M palliative care centre opens

P.E.I's new $5.6 million palliative care centre is open after years of delay.

Promised 5 years ago, project was delayed due to design changes and budget restraints

Dr. Mireille Lecours, provincial palliative care medical consultant, says the new centre will improve the end-of-life journey for patients and their families. (Sara Fraser/CBC)

P.E.I's new $5.6 million palliative care centre is open after years of delay.

The Liberal government first promised the centre five years ago, but changes to the design and budget restraints delayed the project.

Although the centre is scaled down from what was first promised, there will be 10 beds, two more than at the wing in the 80-year-old Prince Edward Home that it replaces.

"Think it's been some pretty firm nudging that's been responsible for building toward what we're celebrating here today, which is more than a building, it really is an ethic and a network of care," said Premier Wade MacLauchlan at the official opening.

The new centre, which is nestled in the woods near the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, will improve the end-of-life journey for patients and their families, says Dr. Mireille Lecours, provincial palliative care medical consultant.

"We have a multi-purpose room that has the ability to provide therapeutic touch, music therapy, all kinds of different services that we were not able to provide," said Lecours.

The new Provincial Palliative Care Centre is located on a heritage site in Charlottetown. (Sara Fraser/CBC)
"So there's a lot about the layout and the possibilities of this palliative care centre that will improve patients' quality of life."

The new centre will offer more services, including an outpatient clinic and respite care, space for families to meet for planning and counselling, a family lounge and a chapel, says Lecours.

Chairs in patient rooms also fold out for family or friends.

And the volunteer-driven, non-profit Hospice P.E.I. plans to offer day programming to patients and their families for the first time.

"Clients who are well enough to get out of bed and be able to move in to the day-program centre, to do arts and crafts or cooking, or like a little day spa or something to make them feel as if they were at home," said Alana Sprague, Hospice P.E.I.'s executive director.

Last year, 485 Islanders used palliative care at the end of their lives. Sixty-six died at home.

Officials say services offered such as outpatient and respite care will become more important as more Islanders wish to die at home.

The centre accepts its first patients Wednesday.

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