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‘Hospice’ doesn’t have to be a scary word

Newmarket's hospice isn’t just for end of life care; It provides comprehensive support from diagnosis to end-of-life for the entire family

For many people, ‘hospice’ is a scary word with negative connotations. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Jennifer Adams, vice-president of philanthropy at Margaret Bahen Hospice and Doane House Hospice.

Margaret Bahen Hospice, a residential hospice that first opened in 2017, is a 10-bed facility that provides a homelike environment for end of life care. 

“Our hospice is a very different environment than a hospital,” Adams said. 

The team at Margaret Bahen Hospice has created a very home-like atmosphere at the residential hospice, with a full kitchen stocked with homemade snacks, a living space for families to sit and bond and the option for families to stay with their loved one 24/7.

“It [the hospice] is a place no one wants to have to be, but when people walk through our doors, I think they are pleasantly surprised by the light and the welcoming environment we provide,” Adams explained. “There is a sense of relief for people to know that their family member is well cared for and so are they.”

But hospice isn’t just for those who are in need of end of life care.

Doane House Hospice is a community hospice dedicated to improving the quality of life for people facing a life-threatening illness through non-medical support.

“If you have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, you can access support for you and your family right away at Doane House Hospice,” Adams said. “You can be connected into Doane House with support with any life threatening diagnosis, even if you go into remission”

Doane House provides social groups, respite assistance, support groups, counselling, grief and bereavement support and art therapy for children who have experienced loss. 

One unique program offered at Doane House for children experiencing loss is a summer camp program for children who are going through loss or experiencing grief. The program is usually a week long, Adams explained, and provides a space for the children to express themselves through arts and crafts, develop healthy coping skills and make friends with other children in similar situations.

Each year, it costs $1.8 million to operate the residential hospice. While close to $1 million is covered by the government, the remaining $800,000 comes from fundraising efforts.

“Recreation therapy, art supplies and beautification all come from fundraising,” Adams said.

To cover those costs, Margaret Bahen has ongoing programs like its Day of Care. “It costs $460 to operate a hospice bed for a day,” Adams said. “Groups, individuals, businesses or organizations donate $460 to hospice to sponsor a day of care and they can choose the day,” she continued. 

The day can have special meaning, such as a birthday, death day or any other sentimental date to the donor.

Adams expressed gratitude for those who have donated in honour of their loved ones. “We are fortunate to have the generosity from families who have experiences with hospice,” she said.

The hospice also hosts annual events to offset costs such as its Hike For Hospice, which takes place Saturday, May 13 at Fairy Lake. “This is a great opportunity to show support for hospice and there is no registration fee to participate,” explained Adams. “We ask that participants engage their families and friends to support them.”

This year, Margaret Bahen is launching a 50/50 draw in support of the hospice which will be drawn on May 13 at the Hike for Hospice event. 

Another signature event coming up this summer is Tee Off For Hospice on Aug. 24 at Mill Run Golf Club.

The team is also launching a new signature event this year called Handbags for Hospice. While the venue and date are to be determined, the event will take place in the fall. The concept is that donated designer handbags will be auctioned off to raise funds for hospice.

For more information on how to donate to or get involved with any of the hospice’s upcoming fundraising events, please contact Camile Garzon at [email protected]

You can learn more about Doane House Hospice here and more information about Margaret Bahen Hospice can be found here.


Riley Barsanti, Community Cares team

About the Author: Riley Barsanti, Community Cares team

Riley is a Communications Specialist and member of the Village Media Cares Team, whose mission is to create meaningful, long-lasting and positive change in the communities we serve.
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