October 12th was World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. The Townsend Smith Foundation (TSF) marked the day bringing awareness to hospice care with a series of events throughout the week culminating in a vigil Thursday October 10, 2019 at Chris Hadfield Park. The vigil started at nightfall with a series of readings accompanied by acoustic music.
Following the readings attendees were invited to light one of the candles offering a thought or intention. Councillor Kristina Tesser-Derksen started off the candle-lighting. “For our combined resolve to make our community better than it already is. We have so very much to be thankful for,” she said, and lit the first candle. The candles were organized on a single table, and as the sky darkened the candles created a comforting warmth. Palliative Care is healthcare provided to people with life limiting illnesses, at home or a hospice. Dying in a hospital costs an estimate $1100-1500/ day “Anyone who has ever experience a loved one or family member passing through hospice and compared it to a similar event happening in hospital; there’s no comparison,” John Barrett said. Barrett is the chair of the volunteer board of directors. Milton Hospital offers palliative services under their complex transitional care department. There are hospices in Burlington, and Oakville but none in north Halton. The Townsend Smith Foundation aims to change that.
“We really, really need a hospice,” Lien Sen said. Residential hospices operate at $500/day. The TSF is working with the Town of Milton to secure land at Chris Hadfield Park to build a 10 bed residential hospice. Barrett recognizes the increased profile. “We almost feel like we’re on the cusp of a tsunami. I think once it really gets rolling, we’re going to be really shocked, Barrett said. Communities are responsible for establishing hospices. Maintaining hospices will cost approximately $1.6 million, half of which will be covered by community fundraising. For more information on the Townsend Smith Foundation including upcoming events, and how to donate, please visit: www.ownsend-smith.caLaura