Construction to begin on a new palliative care unit at St Martha's Regional Hospital

Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) has approved the establishment of a new palliative care inpatient unit at St Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish. Tate Construction has been awarded the contract. Renovations to create the new unit will begin in January, 2018.

“This unit will fulfill a need and is supported by the community,” said St Martha’s Regional Hospital site lead Martha Cooper. “It embodies NSHA’s philosophy that health care is person- and family-centred.”

The creation of the unit is made possible through strong community partnerships and generosity. St Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation has committed up to $600,000 to fund capital costs, while St Martha’s Regional Hospital Auxiliary will contribute up to $150,000 for furnishings and equipment.

“Upon request from NSHA, the Foundation was unequivocal in its affirmation to fund the palliative care unit from invested dollars contributed by our many generous donors,” said Foundation chair Joe MacDonald. “This is our first capital investment in many years and one that connected well with the positive advocacy of the Antigonish Town and County Palliative Care Society. We continue to actively fundraise and encourage all who have not been able to make their pledge to do so.”

The renovation will create a six-bed, dedicated palliative care unit. Besides the necessary staff space requirements, the new unit will include space for families and volunteers.

“Members of St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Auxiliary are pleased to announce that they will be providing the funds to furnish and equip the new palliative care unit,” said Auxiliary President Anne Brunelle. “The $150,000 required for this purpose will be raised through the efforts of Auxiliary members and other volunteers who operate the Breakaway Cafe, Gift Corner, Jingle Bell Frolic and Mayfest. We are delighted to support this much-needed unit in this way.”

Palliative care provides physical, emotional and spiritual care with a focus to living fully in comfort and with dignity. Through a caregiving team of family, friends, health care professionals and volunteers, needs and choices are sensitively met. Palliative care can be provided in any care setting – at home, in hospital or in a nursing home.

“It is with a great deal of satisfaction that the Antigonish Town and County Palliative Care Society welcomes the news that St Martha’s is providing a unit dedicated to the needs of palliative care patients,” said Society board member and former chairperson John MacDougall. “Having participated in and advocated for the development of this unit over the years makes this announcement particularly rewarding for the Society members.”

The new unit is expected to open in 2018.