For nearly three decades, Marion Boyd and Dr. Helen Hays have worked together on the goal of improving care for those near the ends of their lives. In a city that so often boasts about its cutting edge health care and medical research, it was odd that Edmonton did not have a hospice.
But, with Wednesday’s official opening of the Roozen Family Hospice Centre, near Candy Cane Lane, that need has been filled. It’s the culmination of the Pilgrims Hospice Society’s capital campaign that raised more than $15 million. The project was overseen on a volunteer basis by famed Edmonton architect Rick Arndt.
The project began to take shape thanks to a gift from Harold Roozen, who built his fortune through broadcasting and the heating business. Dr. Hays provided palliative care for his mother-in-law, and his family was touched by her compassion — and her passion for the hospice project.
“Her specialized care went above and beyond any other care we’d ever experienced,” said Roozen. “It had a long-term impact on my entire family.”
The goal is to provide care for patients who are near death, plus “wrap-around services” for families. While the hospice held the celebration Wednesday, it’s been in operation since the winter.
“Since we opened our doors in February, I’ve received numerous emails and calls with acknowledgments from people who have experienced the care at the Roozen Family Hospice Centre,” said Roozen. “Everything I hear is exceptional, and it makes me proud to know that my gift has enabled the excellent work that is being done here. My hope is that it makes you proud, too.”
Monica Robson, the executive director of the Centre, says that already 72 patients have been cared for, and the current occupancy rate is at 98 per cent.
Richard Wong, chairman of the Pilgrims Hospice Society’s capital campaign, said that Wednesday’s heavy rainfall couldn’t dampen his spirits.