By Brady Grove, Times Reporter
The Wheatland and Area Hospice Society (WAHS) held a town hall at the Hope Community Covenant Church on Sept. 27 to inform residents of the society’s approach, ideas, plans for a new building, and how to involve the business community.
“The building costs and operating costs would be a whole lot cheaper if we partnered with other groups in the community,” said WAHS Board Director Dr. Joni McNeely. “Alberta Health Services has been pretty clear that hospice society can’t be unattached (no partners) anymore.”
While nothing is official yet, the WAHS is pursuing several locations for new headquarters. Agecare Sagewood was one proposed option but the society hasn’t contacted the nursing home yet. Another possibility was to operate at the local hospital in the acute care section.
“At this point we honestly don’t know,” said McNeely. “We need our community to help us with this.”
According to McNeely the society was offered land but doesn’t know if they will use it to build a headquarters because they don’t know specific building details. They are estimating two to three million dollars to build a new building along with all of the equipment.
Having a headquarters would offer beds to residents as well as other programs designed to ease the final days of patients. Residents of Wheatland would have priority over other people for beds and the society is hoping for four beds.
McNeely cautioned residents that building up the society and a new headquarters will take time.
While the building was a big discussion topic McNeely also went into costs and explained the new Bedside Respite program, which involved volunteers offering care to end-of-life patients and a break for family members. The training provided volunteers with methods to provide comfort and dignity to patients in their final days.
Sharon Stout is one of the volunteers who participated in the respite care training and attended the town hall to learn more about the future plans for the society.
“It was good to know what their plans were for a building,” said Stout. “I wasn’t sure how long it would take. It was just good information, to know where they are headed.”
According to McNeely, in 2013 the Cheadle Lions Club saw the need for a hospice society in the Wheatland area and began fund raising and looking for support. The society was formed in the fall of 2015.
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