Walker Industries supports Hospice Niagara plan for expansion with $1.5-million pledge

Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay

Walker Industries press release – Walker Industries has committed to helping eliminate a shortage of much-needed hospice palliative care in Niagara.

Walker has pledged to donate $1.5 million to Hospice Niagara towards the development of two new Hospice Palliative Care Centres of Excellence in Fort Erie and Welland for residents from across Niagara.

Each of the proposed centres will provide a home-like setting with 10 private rooms for people and their families to spend quality time during the final stages of life.

This expansion will enable Hospice Niagara’s programs and services to be accessible for more people across the region. The Hospice Palliative Care Centres will house programs for people who are living at home, as well as bereavement care for children, teenagers and adults. They would also provide educational opportunities to teach healthcare professionals, staff and volunteers about the specialty of hospice palliative care.

“This is a health care opportunity that lines up with our focus of helping the most vulnerable this year,” says Walker President and CEO Geordie Walker. “It builds on our relationship with Hospice Niagara, which began when we supported their previous campaign more than a decade ago to build a hospice residence in St. Catharines.”

Hospice Niagara praised Walker Industries for its early support, launching the capital fundraising campaign with a strong start.

“The Walker family has a very long history of giving back to Niagara and strengthening our community through their involvement,” says Hospice Niagara Executive Director Carol Nagy. “We’re extremely grateful for their support and for their trust in our vision to help people and families live well from the time of diagnosis of a terminal illness, and when experiencing the loss of a loved one.”

Niagara is significantly underserved in terms of hospice bed capacity and community palliative care services, based on its overall population and its high percentage of seniors. While Ontario’s Auditor General recommends a capacity of seven to 10 hospice beds per population of 100,000, Niagara has a hospice bed count of less than half that number at three beds per 100,000 residents.

In addition to several community palliative care programs and services, Hospice Niagara operates The Stabler Centre, a 10-bed hospice residence in St. Catharines, which serves people and families across Niagara.

The hospice residence provides a peaceful, comfortable setting with private rooms where people receive professional nursing care, personal support, companionship, bereavement and spiritual care. There is no fee for services.

Provided Hospice Niagara secures full approval from the Ministry of Health, construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2021 with the expectation of opening in late 2023.

In the meantime, Hospice Niagara is planning a capital fundraising campaign to raise the necessary public funds to support the project moving forward.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for all of Niagara,” says Nagy. “Expansion of these much-needed services could not be more timely considering the strain our healthcare system has experienced in recent years, given our growing number of seniors living in Niagara and our need to end hallway medicine. We hope our community stands with us in supporting the expansion of compassionate and exceptional care, to everyone, everywhere in Niagara.”