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Saskatchewan’s first free-standing hospice opens, accepts patients

Saskatchewan's first hospice is officially opening its doors. Slavo Kutas / Global News

The Hospice at Glengarda in Saskatoon will begin accepting patients this week.

The facility has been years in the making and is something many have advocated for. According to St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation CEO Lecina Hicke, Saskatchewan was the last province in Canada to have a free-standing residential hospice.

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“This hospice is built by the people of Saskatchewan for the people of Saskatchewan,” Hicke said.

“We started raising funds to establish Saskatchewan’s first free-standing residential hospice and were simultaneously ensuring the care within that facility was representative of the holistic and compassionate care our community has come to expect in St. Paul’s Hospital.”

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The Close to Home Campaign raised $21 million in just three years.

The palliative care unit at St. Paul’s Hospital has only 12 beds. The new hospice will have 15 beds for patients in and around Saskatoon.

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Long-term care centre Samaritan Place is in charge of operations and it will include an extension of the previous staff. Caretakers will be working 24 hours a day.

Glengarda will provide holistic, respectful and compassionate care, according to the foundation. It’s able to provide extra support for patients and their loved ones as they spend their final moments together.

“Each of the patient rooms is adorned with large windows, comfortable beds for the patients, sleeping chairs for the families, as well as fireplaces and televisions — what you might hope for when you’re going through what can be a really difficult experience,” Hicke said.

“It’s not a moment for medical intervention. It’s a moment to peacefully say goodbye to those that we love.”

Patients will be accepted in a phased approach as the residence opens, meaning the facility won’t be at full capacity in its first week.

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It’s integrated into the healthcare system, so doctors will be able to refer patients to the Hospice at Glengarda.

“Previously, homecare and palliative care would’ve been the options but now we’re adding a hospice to that list,” Hicke said.

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