It’s becoming more common for rural communities to have some form of Hospice services available to provide caring when there is no curing but North Hastings has always gone a step beyond. The Residential Hospice House for North Hastings was the first rural residential Hospice in Canada. The Hospice House, located in downtown Bancroft, provides a whole-home environment for those who are in their final stage of life. The house offers an environment totally different than a hospital and for many who choose this path, it makes a difficult time a bit more comfortable.
“When a patient moves in they bring the whole family with them,” explains Hospice coordinator, Heather Brough. “There’s room for everyone to be cared for, supported and guided through this difficult time of life. To have caring support 24/7 can make a huge difference. Our annual Hike for Hospice is one way we ensure that the House stays open and that our team is able to care for those when there is such a need.”
On Oct. 2 Hospice families, supporters, volunteers and caring community members will gather at the Bancroft Village Playhouse for the Annual Hike for Hospice. The event brings together those who understand the need for Hospice in our community and it also allows those who have built a relationship with the team to re-connect, share stories and especially, to share cherished memories.
This past year has been tough for Hospice North Hastings. The Hospice House required a full sprinkler system and in lieu of an elevator, a ground-floor patient suite was completed and opened this summer making the building more accessible and now, able to meet all code requirements.
The programs and services provided by Hospice North Hastings have always been offered without charge so that everyone has equal access to community-based care when it matters most but the additional expenses have made things more challenging for the local not-for-profit especially because they do not receive health care dollars.
“We do what we can to raise funds,” Brough says. “We run the All Occasion Event Rental Business, we’re now operating the Village Playhouse and then we do other more traditional fundraisers like our Gala. The Hike is a big deal for us and we’re really hoping that the community will come out and support the work we’re continuing to do.”
That work includes providing medical equipment through a loaner program and Hospice also runs the R&R Caregiver Support Day Program. And while Hikes in the past have supported the other programs that Hospice offers, this year all proceeds will go towards paying for the new patient suite.
Brough and the rest of the Hospice team are proud of the new suite. It looks out over the back garden and it’s flooded with beautiful, natural light. It’s serene and peaceful and a nice compliment to the rest of the house that buzzes with family noise when a patient is being cared for.
The Hike for Hospice on Oct. 2 starts at 3pm with registration and a warm-up and after the hike everone will return to the Playhouse for the annual Chili Fest. Every year more and more amazing chili appears and the competition is tough. For those just wanting to eat Chili, the cost is $15.
Brough hopes that Hospice supporters will get competitive with pledges. For the second year in a row, anyone that raises $1,000 will be entered in a draw to win a one-week cottage rental in PEI. The cottage sleeps seven and is located on the Northumberland Strait. The prize is generously donated by Katie and Noel Lobe.
“People don’t like to talk about death and dying and that’s why we try to keep our events focused on celebrating life,” Brough says. “This is about supporting Hospice with a fabulous hike, great food and tons of laughter and one lucky supporter will win an amazing cottage getaway as well!”
The Hike for Hospice starts at 3pm at the Village Playhouse in Bancroft on Oct. 2. Chili Fest starts at 5pm. Those who collect pledges can eat for free. For those just coming for the meal, a $15 donation is requested.