SCUGOG: The Ontario provincial government has announced they will be supporting three Durham hospice projects, helping bring a total of 20 hospice beds to the region.
The announcement was made at the site of the future Oak Ridges Hospice, in Port Perry, on Thursday, Aug. 31st. The provincial government will give $1 million, annually, to the Oak Ridges Hospice and a Clarington hospice, and will provide over $1 million, annually, to the Victoria Order of Nurses for a hospice project in Whitby. There will be five beds at the Oak Ridges and Clarington hospices and ten beds at the Whitby hospice.
John Fraser, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long Term Care, stressed the importance of hospices in communities.
“[Hospices] really provide people the opportunity to live well until the end, because it is about living well. It’s not just dying, it’s living well,” he said.
MPP Granville Anderson spoke to The Standard about what the announcement means for the Durham community.
“It was an announcement that was long overdue. Hospice care is something that is needed, it is something that we all need. It transcends political lines, and it is something that should be there for our citizens when they need it,” he said.
Dr. Steve Russell, Chair of the board of directors of Oak Ridges Hospice, said this is an exciting time for the Oak Ridges Hospice board.
“It’s an exciting culmination of a lot of work, that’s gone on for about seven to ten years, to get all the pieces together to actually build a hospice in Port Perry. Today, we are seeing all of the partners that have joined with us, over all these years, coming together to provide leadership, resources, [and] funding, and we are also exciting about partnering with the other hospices in Durham Region to do this,” he said.
Dr. Russell explained, the plan is to demolish the former Immaculate Conception Catholic School building on the site, once they receive the permits to do so, and to start constructing a new building in 2018 “custom designed for hospice care.”
He expects the Oak Ridges hospice will open in the spring of 2019.