Jessica’s House has a very special meaning for the South Huron community, named in honour of 22-year-old Jessica Hamather who lost her life in 2015 to an extremely rare cancer. Maria Hamather, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee believes that this community hospice is an important goal for South Huron. “Our family fully supports the plans to create a beautiful residential hospice in South Huron, providing much needed support for families during a difficult time. We are proud to work on this project with the South Huron Hospital Foundation and we know Jessica would have loved this wonderful and peaceful space. We are thankful to the Bean Family for this generous commitment to make Jessica’s House a reality, and to our amazing community for all of its support”.
Jessica’s House will act as the heart of palliative support services including both current programs and an expanded set of services such as: Day Wellness programs for individuals diagnosed with life threatening illnesses, a Bereavement Support program, Horticultural Therapy Sessions, a Men’s Prostate Cancer Support group, a Suicide Support group, and a Children’s Bereavement Support program. Patients and their families will come to the hospice for the compassionate, medical, and emotional care that they need at the end-of-life.
Access to residential hospice beds is an issue in Huron County as identified by the SW LHIN Although most people would prefer to die at home, most die in hospital. Aside from the compassionate aspect of this, caring for terminally ill patients in an acute-care hospital is estimated to cost over 40% more than providing care in a hospital-based palliative-care unit. This is more than double the cost of providing care in a hospice bed and over 10 times more than providing at-home care.
(Source: Bonnie Lysyk, Auditor General, December 9, 2014)
The South Huron Hospice Steering Committee is committed to creating Jessica’s House with a vision that is achievable, realistic, honourable and valuable for our community.
We are so proud to share with you the video we launched at our Gala on June 3, 2016. The launch of a campaign to fund a residential Hospice called Jessica’s House as part of a ‘unified solution for the provision of palliative care resources in Huron and Perth’ was the focus of the evening, and a powerfully local and emotional video was presented as part of the launch. Jessica’s House captures exactly the spirit of what we are hoping this residential house can be: a bright, beautiful place that welcomes people of all ages and genders. The name also honours a young person lost too soon to our community.
Absolutely! No community ever needs anyone’s permission to build a hospice. Hospices are built by communities for communities. Of the 41 current hospices in Ontario, 38 were built with no funding from the LIHN or Ministry of Health. Residential hospices are grassroots, community-led initiatives and the government comes in behind at some point to help with some of the operating costs.
Absolutely! The current provincial government has committed to three years of funding for a total of $75 million. We could very well receive funding in the 2017-2018 round or the 2018-2019 round. Those funding rounds will take this government to the end of its mandate. In all likelihood, whichever party forms the next government, will, ensure that more funding rounds will continue. Why? Because the operational costs of hospice beds are less than half of those of hospital beds and because hospices offer a better end of life experience, much more like being at home.
Absolutely! It is our understanding that the SW LIHN took $60,000 of taxpayer money and asked a Toronto consulting firm to decide where the hospice should go. The consulting firm looked at a map of Huron County and chose the centre. We aren’t surprised that someone who has not been part of the hard work to make Jessica’s House a reality or that doesn’t know anything about Huron County would think that was a sensible choice. It is unfortunate but not, at all, a permanent impediment to our plan. As the saying goes, “We will build it; and they will come!”
We hope to have the preliminary drawings ready by Christmas. Then we will put out the project for tender. Prior to tendering the project, we hope to identify some further in-kind donations so that builders understand exactly what they are bidding on. By March 2017 we should be ready to dig the hole.