file photo

file photo

Expansions rolling ahead at Red Deer Hospice

Six new rooms will provide care to 100 additional residents each year

Construction on a 15,000 sq. ft. expansion is underway at the Red Deer Hospice, and the community is reminded about the organization’s capital campaign which was launched this year.

Organizers announced the Expansion Fundraising Campaign June 8th at the Hospice, which is located at 99 Arnot Ave.

“People really support it,” said Val Hilario, expansion fundraising coordinator. “Community-wise, we are just finalizing an extension campaign cabinet – those people who have a circle of influence in the community, and who can hopefully open some doors for us,” she said, adding that while there are a number of charities seeking help these days as well, she is optimistic the support for the Hospice will be there, too.

“It’s going to happen.”

Currently, crews are working on a parking area but Hilario expects work on the new building itself will kick off early next month.

Expansion plans include a new main floor that will have six additional private residential rooms, enhanced areas including living rooms, quiet areas, a coffee bar, a dedicated sanctuary and a multi-purpose room for education, care and day programming.

The goal for the fundraising campaign is pegged at $5.2 million. And upon opening, Alberta Health Services has committed to hiking annual funding from $838,000 to $2.8 million.

As mentioned, the expansion will also ultimately allow for 100 additional residents and their families to have access to palliative and end-of-life care each year.

The demand for increased levels of service is certainly growing, she said.

“Just around the time we were really looking at expanding, and getting our formalities in place, a family contacted me on a Monday and were interested in coming in for a tour. They did that on the Monday with the potential resident and made the decision they wanted to (move) in on Tuesday. But there were no beds.

“When you meet the families, they become more real and their stories become more heartfelt. She finally was admitted on the Saturday.”

But with palliative care, any amount of time is absolutely of the essence.

“For that reason, we are expanding,” she said. “That one family that I’m sure represented every other family out there was just waiting while knowing this is where they wanted (their loved one) to be.”

Hilario estimates the time of completion to be around the end of 2019 or the very beginning of 2020.

Meanwhile, the Red Deer Hospice’s popular HandBag Lunch runs Sept. 12th at the Sheraton, and it is already sold-out.

The last event brought in $18,000.

“I think it has a lot of appeal because it is a unique event,” said Evelyn Storm, the Hospice’s executive director. “It’s an excellent meal, and it’s an opportunity for the community to come together in support of the Hospice, and currently in support particularly of our expansion,” she said.

Each table features a new designer handbag as a centerpiece and guests have the opportunity to bid on the bags in a sealed auction format.

As to the expansion campaign, Storm said it’s exciting to see things starting to take off in terms of the project moving forward.

“Certainly we are still in the early stages of identifying and launching the work of our cabinet headed up by Jim McPherson,” she said. “The reception has been very, very positive. The initial feedback has been of great interest.

“I think one of the best things this cabinet is trying to do is to reach community leaders who are perhaps in different demographics than our supporters in addition to those traditional supporters, and to really spread the word about the importance of hospice and the role it plays in the community,” she said.

Red Deer Hospice opened for its first resident in 2005.

Since then, staff have cared for more than 1,200 residents and their family members.

For more about the campaign, check out or call 403-309-4344.