It is hard to believe that I am entering week five of my PULSE placement. As the saying goes “time flies when you’re having fun”.
I have had a busy few weeks. I had the privilege of visiting two other local hospices to learn about the services that they offer to people in need. Heart House Hospice(HHH) is located in Mississauga, near Matheson Boulevard and Timberlea. HHH provides many community programs for residents of Brampton and Mississauga, with life-challenging illnesses, and their families. Programs offered include referrals to other healthcare organizations, visiting volunteers, day programs, spiritual support, bereavement support and a resource library. Heart House has hundreds of volunteers to provide these services to their clients.
While visiting Heart House I heard some good news and some bad news. The good news is that they have acquired a piece of property in Mississauga to build a ten-bed residential hospice. The bad news is that the local government will not donate the land and the hospice will need to fundraise a few million dollars to pay for it, and they cannot start building until the land is paid for. Apparently this is the only municipality in Ontario that has not donated the land for a hospice. It seems that the local government believes that healthcare is the responsibility of the provincial and federal government and that the local municipality should not be expected to contribute. On top of this expense there is the cost of building, which again has to be fundraised. Before one resident can be serviced by this new facility HHH will need to raise approximately $15M dollars. Imagine if that money was able to go directly into patient care, rather than being used to buy land and build facilities; how many people could be impacted more quickly and effectively?
I can’t imagine how overwhelming the magnitude of this exercise must be; I would be overwhelmed with such a challenge. What impressed me the most was that the HHH team was not discouraged by the amount they need to raise, but were celebrating that they had finally acquired the land they needed. These folks consistently see the glass as “half-full”, even in the face of monumental challenges. They fully expect to be operational in 2015 – quite an accomplishment if they can pull it off, and seeing their determination, I have no doubt that they can.
My appreciation for the people that work and volunteer in this sector continues to grow each time I interact with someone new. The passion and excitement of “what could be” overrides the financial challenges they are faced with on a daily basis. They are constantly thinking of different ways to be successful. As a matter of fact, some of that is rubbing off on me and I am learning to be resourceful in my planning (as in who do I know that can give me that for free). Hopefully at the end of the six months I will not have burned any bridges with my friends, family and co-workers, but will have been successful in helping Bethell Hospice achieve their goals.
Next week I will share some insight into my visit to the Dorothy Ley Hospice.