A new warm and homelike environment is providing more dignity and comfort for patients and families facing the emotional journey of end-of-life care at the Mel Miller Hospice at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre. Thanks to the generous support of donors, the hospice space is being transformed with updated amenities and comforts for residents.
When Geritje Lankreijer, 82, arrived several months ago, her first room was in an area of the unit that had not yet been renovated, but a few weeks later she was transferred to one of the new rooms.
“There you are in the hospital. And here you are more at home,” says Geritje’s husband, John, describing the difference between the two spaces.
John lovingly describes his wife as “the boss”; both because she is a couple of months older than him, but also because of her skills attending to their family’s needs over more than 60 years of marriage. Now John says his wife’s wellbeing is his main priority as he visits with her daily. John, says the soothing surroundings and the compassionate and supportive staff go a long way to ease the difficult circumstances he’s facing.
“We have everything we really need,” John says. “They are looking after me too, for some reason,” he adds, with a grateful smile. “When I walk in, it is just a pleasant experience.”
All 26 rooms in the palliative care unit are being renovated with the addition of modern furnishings, big-screen television sets and refrigerators. Two common areas are also receiving improvements with a new fireplace, shelving and furniture. The kitchen is also being enhanced with a family nourishment centre so visitors can have easier access to refreshments and meals at the bedside of their loved ones.
There is also space in the new rooms for personal touches like the portable keyboard beside Geritje's bed. While she is not strong enough to play it, the keyboard provides a deep, meaningful connection to her past and the times she spent playing music with her children.
The $800,000 renovation project is made possible because of donors to Covenant Foundation. Unit manager Lisa Shirley says the project speaks to Covenant Health’s mission of providing compassionate patient and family-centred care.
“Family members spend a lot of time at their loved one’s bedside under these circumstances. Ensuring we have comfortable spaces and furniture for patients and their families is key,” says Shirley, Unit Manager, 9Y. “We appreciate the generosity displayed by donors. Because of them, this renovation is possible.”
The renovation is projected to be complete by the end of March 2020.
If you would like to support this project, you can make a secure online donation here or call 780-342-8126.
Written by: Laura Ehrkamp