Northumberland Hospice Care Centre will employ 15 staff & rely on the assistance of 100 volunteers

Article and images by Bill Hornbostel

Ed’s House is nearly open! Years in the making, the Northumberland Hospice Care Centre is almost ready to open its doors to residents.

“We’re hoping our clinical staff will be starting next Tuesday to do two weeks of training and orientation,” says Trish Baird, CEO of Community Care Northumberland. Ed’s House will employ fifteen new staff members, including registered nurses, building maintenance, food services, and an office administrator. Another 100 volunteers will help with running the hospice.

The new building is bright, spacious, and modern. Near the entrance and wall commemorating the donors are a dining room and a couple of living rooms. In the dining room, Baird says, “There will be a lot of library resources, so we anticipate having shelves along one wall.”

The larger living room has a play area for children, and the smaller, cozier living room has a gas fireplace. Baird points out the in-window blinds. “It would have presented a problem for infection control, so we are happy we made that decision!”

Down the hall from the dining room and living rooms is the family café with an ice machine and refrigerator. “A family member, you could come in here anytime 24/7, you’ll be able to grab coffee, there’ll be urns here with soup,” Baird says.

Adjoining the café is a large kitchen. “The kitchen will not be open to the family, but we will have a volunteer for the Food Services Coordinator that will use the kitchen to make meals,” says Baird.

Further down the hall is a spiritual room, which includes a closet where people may store items or symbols of their faith, and stained-glass panels in the windows (another pane is above the front door). The stained-glass was made by Linda Whaley, who had lived in Colborne but now resides in PEI.

“COVID hit and no one was allowed to enter or leave the Maritimes,” Baird says. “Stewart Richardson, Chair of the Building Committee, made arrangements with a company in Moncton who had a weekly delivery from a transportation company locally.  Linda took the stained glass to Moncton where it was picked up by trucking company and carefully brought back to Ontario in the truck cab.

The spiritual room was also made to accommodate Indigenous beliefs. “We have a special ventilation system here so you can do smudging,” Baird says; Chief Dave Mowat of Alderville First Nation tested the system successfully. There is also a west-facing door leaving the room. “As part of the indigenous culture, many of them, when they die, they like to leave going to the west.”

At the centre of the building is a clinical station with a medication room. “We will have two registered staff on, 24/7, an RN [Registered Nurse] and an RPN [Registered Practical Nurse],” says Baird.

The bathing room for residents includes a large tub which can be raised or lowered, as well as a chair to enable the resident to use the shower. “We don’t have showers in the six rooms that we have; the building committee went to various hospices all across Ontario,” says Baird. “Some of our research said that people weren’t really using the showers in the room.”

Six residence rooms are finished, including one for bariatric residents. “They all have overhead lifts, so if you need help assistance to get out of bed, every room has that built in,” says Baird. Each room also includes a TV, a wheeled chair, a couch which folds out into a bed for a visiting family member, and a quiet mini-refrigerator.

The lower level includes offices for staff (hospice staff for Community Care Northumberland will move in after Ed’s House opens), a staff kitchen, and extra meetings spaces for things like staff training or art therapy for community members.

Ed’s House is located at 1301 Ontario Street in Hamilton Township. For more information about the Northumberland Hospice Care Centre, you may visit their website, northumberlandhospice.ca, and you may follow them on Facebook (@northumberlandhospice) or Instagram (@edshospice).

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