Kingston embraces its first hospice residence with 24-hour end-of-life care.
The 10-suite hospice residence is set to open in mid-2024 and will provide support services in a home-like setting to people in the final stage of their life. The 13,000 square foot residence is currently under construction at 1200 Princess St. and will cost $13 million.
Hospice Kingston has offered in-home visiting, wellness services, and grief and bereavement support groups for clients and caregivers in the community for 38 years. After a decade of planning, they voluntarily merged with Providence Care in 2022 to create the community’s first residence.
“From a hospice service perspective, this has been the missing piece […] to support a continuum of palliative care in Kingston,” said Krista Wells Pearce, vice-president of corporate services and executive director, Hospice Kingston at Providence Care, in an interview with The Journal.
The residence will be run primarily by community volunteers with staff on-call to assist. Volunteers go through general orientation and are required to complete over 30 hours of self-directed training provided to them by Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO).
Volunteers are then matched with clients to provide one-on-one support for mental and physical health. With the mental health side being the most intense part of the job for all involved, explained Wells Pearce.
“The physical stuff is textbook, you know how to manage pain and make sure that people aren’t getting pressure ulcers and their nutrition is modified; but the spiritual, social, and emotional side of all services is important—especially at end-of-life,” Wells Pearce said.
One of the major issues Ava Penry, MSc ’24, observed among seniors in Kingston is loneliness and isolation. Penry is the co-chair of Queen’s Grandfriends, a club that volunteers with local seniors in long-term care homes.
“Grandfriends works to level the field to make everyone feel there is someone there to support them in what they need support for. I think a lot of the things that we do would be applicable in [the hospice] setting as well,” Penry said in an interview with The Journal.
Providence Care is looking to expand their partnership with Queen’s students and the Faculty of Health Sciences to grow their number of volunteers.
“If we didn’t have our volunteers, we wouldn’t be providing community services because we’re not funded to. The funding doesn’t work from the province in such a way that we’d be able to pay staff to provide community-based services,” Wells Pearce said.
“We receive our funding solely for our staff and [right now] I’ve got a staff of 2.25 people,” Wells Pearce added. “The volunteers are the people who go and actually interact with the clients, they’re the ones providing the support.”
Once open, the residence will rely heavily on community fundraising and a limited envelope of provincial funding to grow their full-time staff. The provincial government is currently contributing $1.75 million to the new hospice.
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