Mattawa Hospital has opened the doors on the latest addition to the healthcare hub, the Mattawa Hospital Hospice. To celebrate, the Patient Advisory Council hosted an open house on September 16th, and it was a chance to show off the new space and acknowledge the work of staff and volunteers “who have worked tirelessly to make the dream of a local hospice a reality.”
“This hospice is a testament to the compassion and generosity of the Mattawa community,” said Tanya Bélanger, President and CEO of Mattawa Hospital, “and our team is dedicated to providing exceptional care and support to those in their time of need.”
BayToday reached out to Kayla Michaud, the Manager of the Family Health Team and Patient Services earlier this week to learn more about the new facility. She explained that adding a hospice was always the plan, and when the nursing home was being built in 2017, the hospice space was added at that time.
The nursing home was opened in 2019, but staff decided to hold off on opening the Hospice. “We needed to get settled into the nursing home,” she noted, and staff wanted to develop appropriate policies for the room. However, what was meant to be a short delay to get all the ducks in a row turned into a longer wait once COVID hit.
But now it’s open, much to the delight of hospital administration and staff.
Michaud helped clarify the purpose of the hospice room, explaining that “The Hospice Suite assists terminally ill or end of life people to live with dignity and comfort in a place that feels like home.” The suite also has accommodations for visitors who care to spend the night with their loved ones.
“Hospice Palliative Care is recognized as a type of care that can be provided to support individuals and families at any stage of a life- limiting illness,” she continued. “The focus is on providing individualized care for each individual and family.”
Michaud outlined the eligibility criteria for future hospice patients. One must have a progressive life limiting illness and a palliative performance score (PPS) of 40% or less. The person must live in the Nipissing district or wish to return to this area to be with family at the end of their life.
The patient must no longer be receiving active disease modifying treatment. Also, the patient must have signed an Allow Natural Death or Do Not Resuscitate form. The individual must have care needs that exceed the supports available from the family and or needs that exceed the supports available in the community.
Or the individual does not want to die at home.
There is also an admission process which goes through the Home and Community Care Support Services. Once accepted, the stay is free, as the hospice receives government funding to cover operations. The new hospice is staffed by the hospital’s nursing pool.
“It’s a beautiful one-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen, a living room, a huge bathroom, and it has its own private entrance,” Michaud detailed.
As hospice care is not often front of mind for most people, Michaud knows that educating people on what they can expect from a hospice is an important part of the process. She oversees the hospice and would be happy to give you a tour of the space and answer any questions you may have.
To reach Kayla Michaud, give her a call at 705-744-5511 ext. 4005 or send her a note via email at [email protected].
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.