The Town of Sackville has been asked to contribute $9,700 to help build a hospice in Moncton. The 10-bed, bilingual facility would serve about 120 people each year who are dying in southeastern New Brunswick.
The request for the donation came during Monday’s town council meeting from Tammy Rampersaud, the deputy mayor of Riverview who is helping raise money from municipalities in Westmorland, Albert and Kent counties on behalf of the registered charitable organization, Hospice Southeast New Brunswick (Hospice SENB).
“It’s all based on population,” Rampersaud told council. “So, the ask to Sackville is $9,700,” she said. “If you were so generous and willing to grant that money to the campaign, it could be done in one year, two years, all the way up to five years.”
She explained that although the two hospitals in Moncton have 13 beds for palliative care to serve dying patients, there is no hospice in southeastern New Brunswick dedicated solely for that purpose.
“Everybody wants to die with dignity, in privacy, and [with] some compassion,” Rampersaud said. “I’m not saying you don’t get that in the hospital, but it surely is a different experience in a hospital,” she added.
A note on the Hospice SENB website refers to surveys showing that 75% of Canadians would prefer to die at home or in a hospice rather than in hospital.
“In 2017, The Moncton Hospital reported that 10% of its palliative patients died at home, while the remaining 90% died in hospital,” the website says. “That is a much higher rate than the national average of 70%.”
Rampersaud cited figures, that also appear on the website, showing that hospice care is much cheaper than hospital care for the dying.
Hospice would serve children
Rampersaud said that one of the 10 beds would be set aside as a pediatric room, the only one in Atlantic Canada.
“I, being a Mom, really, really, appreciate that,” she added.
She said the Lions Club donated the land for the hospice while the federal and provincial governments have each contributed $1 million toward the $5 million cost of the building.
Aside from soliciting contributions from municipalities, Hospice SENB is also encouraging donations from private individuals.
“They are going to break ground in the spring and [are] hoping to have the building built before the end of the year next year,” Rampersaud concluded.
For more information on the Hospice SENB capital campaign, click here.
Local group ‘100% behind’ hospice campaign
Meantime, the Chair of the Tantramar Hospice Palliative Care Organization (THPCO) says the group enthusiastically supports the campaign to build a hospice in Moncton.
Stephen Claxton-Oldfield says a $9,700 contribution from the town of Sackville would be a good investment.
“A residential hospice in Moncton would serve the folks in the Tantramar region,” he says. “Our local group is 100 per cent behind Hospice Southeast New Brunswick in terms of getting this residential hospice built.”
Claxton-Oldfield, who is a professor of psychology at Mount Allison, says THPCO is an advocacy group that aims to raise public awareness about end-of-life care.
“We’re not looking to build a hospice in Sackville and we’re not raising money for that,” he adds. “We’re more about promoting end-of-life care services and resources.”
THPCO holds events to raise public awareness, such as one last May to mark National Hospice Palliative Care Week.
Visitors to the Sackville Farmers Market were given an opportunity to pick up a piece of chalk and complete the sentence, “Before I die, I want to…”
“The idea behind the wall is to get people to reflect on death and life and share their hopes, dreams, and wishes in a public space,” Claxton-Oldfield is quoted as saying on the THPCO website.
“Doing so can help bring clarity to the things that are most important in people’s lives. By market’s end, the wall was completely full of people’s aspirations!”