BY ARRON PICKARD
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary last September, Maison McCulloch Hospice originally opened as an 11,000-square-foot, 10-bed facility.
Over the past decade, the hospice has added many programs and services with about 93 percent occupancy since it first opened. More than 1,500 people have spent their final days there.
“Now we’re bursting at the seams, to the point we have people sharing offices,” Therrien said. “We need more space for staff, volunteers and families.”
An $8.4-million expansion is planned with the City of Greater Sudbury committing $750,000 over five years, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund committing $2 million over the length of construction, and the Ministry of Health’s hospice capital program promising $2 million.
The rest of the funds for the project and new equipment are being raised through the Stand By Me Capital Campaign, launched in February 2017.
“We’ve pretty much raised it all (83 percent) to date,” Therrien said
“Sudbury is a very generous community, and people now know what a hospice is and how vital it is to the community. It is much easier today to get donations than it was 10 years ago, when no one really knew what the hospice did.”
Capital Construction from Sudbury has been awarded the contract and construction, which will begin pending final approval from the province. (The process has been held up because there has been a change of government.)
The 16,000-square-foot expansion will create a two-level building. All of the outreach programs and the current board room will be relocated to the lower level of the expanded facility.
The main floor will be for residents and their families. That way, they still have their privacy while the outreach programs can operate without interrupting them, Therrien said.
In addition to the expansion, the hospice will be doing extensive renovations to its current building, such as increasing the size of the kitchen to accommodate the increase in the number of families that will be utilizing the facility.
When the Ministry of Health announced it was funding 200 new beds in Ontario, Therrien said Maison McCulloch Hospice applied for 10 beds.
The hospice received approval in November 2017.
At the same time, the ministry also approved a new caregiver training program.
“The idea is, people want to stay at home, but it’s a big job for family members to take care of them, and they need help to do that,” Therrien said. “This program will educate and train those family members to provide that care.”
The plan has garnered attention from other communities.
“A lot of other communities are following suit,” he said. “
Stratford is getting eight beds, but they are building for the capacity for 10 beds, because they want two respite beds.
“North Bay is building six beds, but is building to accommodate another four beds. If you are building for eight beds, you might as well build for 10 beds, because it’s easier to build now than to expand later.”
Families, friends and many more have come to know the compassionate care provided in those emotional times, Therrien said.
For example, one family started hosting a fundraising golf tournament four years ago, and raised $1,200 that first year. This year, they gave the hospice a cheque for $7,500 because of the care their dad received while he was there.
Maison McCulloch Hospice must raise more than one million dollars annually to provide services and programs at no cost.