Val­ley Hos­pice breaks ground in Kentville

Ground­break­ing fol­lows nearly two decades of com­mu­nity plan­ning, re­search


The day has ar­rived, and ground has been bro­ken at the Val­ley Hos­pice cen­tre in Kentville af­ter nearly two decades of plan­ning and fundrais­ing.

Val­ley Hos­pice Foun­da­tion chair­woman Diana Pat­ter­son raised her arms and cheered as she for­mally an­nounced the news in Kentville on Oct. 26 in front of fel­low foun­da­tion mem­bers, vol­un­teers and other mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

Pat­ter­son said she could hardly be­lieve the day had fi­nally ar­rived, and said it felt “in­cred­i­ble and joy­ful.”

“It’s al­most, ‘pinch me, it’s fi­nally hap­pen­ing,’ be­cause we’ve worked so hard, and ev­ery­body here has a con­nec­tion to it,” she said.

The hos­pice, which will be the sec­ond of its kind in the prov­ince, has been a long time com­ing for many mem­bers of the com­mu­nity who have cam­paigned hard and raised funds for the cen­tre’s con­struc­tion.

The build­ing will be sit­u­ated east of the ex­ist­ing hospi­tal and ad­ja­cent to the Bea­con House in an area com­pletely sur­rounded by trees. Pat­ter­son de­scribed the kind of care it will pro­vide pal­lia­tive pa­tients, in­clud­ing that each of its 10 rooms will have its own door open­ing di­rectly out­side.

Kings West MLA and cabi­net min­is­ter Leo Glavine was on hand to de­liver re­marks on be­half of the prov­ince and con­firmed a ten­der for con­struc­tion has of­fi­cially been awarded.

“What a won­der­ful day that we have now ar­rived at this point — and we ac­tu­ally know it’s go­ing to hap­pen. That’s the great news, that’s the big news,” he said.

“The story is the un­be­liev­able…, un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment that this would be­come a re­al­ity at some point.”

Among those present was Nancy Chip­man, who has vol­un­teered with the hospi­tal in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties like its VON ser­vice since 1994.

Chip­man’s sis­ter was re­ceiv­ing home care via VON nurses when she died in 1994. Chip­man said that she, and so many other fam­i­lies like hers, “do not know what pal­lia­tive care is” un­til some­one close to them is in need of it.

She also re­called sev­eral mem­bers of the orig­i­nal hos­pice com­mit­tee from the early 1990s — many of whom also passed be­fore the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony.

Chip­man said that it’s “ab­so­lutely fab­u­lous” de­spite the de­lay that pal­lia­tive care pa­tients now have ac­cess to the hos­pice, and hopes fam­i­lies see the hos­pice as a place “they can feel joy and sor­row” in more com­fort than a hospi­tal can pro­vide.

Dr. Karen Birch was also present at the ground­break­ing. She works as part of the hospi­tal’s pal­lia­tive care team, and said many pal­lia­tive pa­tients who can­not re­ceive care at home due to com­plex ill­nesses will re­main in hospi­tal un­til the hos­pice is opened.

She said de­spite ex­cel­lent care de­liv­ered by all health pro­fes­sion­als, hos­pi­tals “are not a set­ting de­signed for end of life care.”

“Most peo­ple would like to stay at their homes at the end of their life. This is why we con­tinue to try to raise the ca­pac­ity of providers in the val­ley, across dis­ci­plines… so peo­ple with com­plex ill­nesses can stay at home as long as they’re able to,” she said.

She said the hos­pice will not only “meet that need as a place where peo­ple are cared for in a peace­ful set­ting,” but will also be a “crit­i­cal re­source” for health pro­fes­sion­als to learn about the de­liv­ery of pal­lia­tive and end-oflife care.

“We imag­ine a place of ex­cel­lence… where fam­ily doc­tors can fol­low with their pa­tients’ care, and where learn­ing pro­fes­sion­als — med­i­cal res­i­dents, phys­i­cal ther­apy stu­dents, and oth­ers — (can) learn about this par­tic­u­lar area of health­care,” she said.


Min­is­ter and MLA Leo Glavine, Val­ley Hos­pice chair Diana Pat­ter­son and Nova Sco­tia Health Au­thor­ity CEO Janet Knox each take a hand and of­fi­cially break ground and mark the be­gin­ning of work on the Val­ley Hos­pice at the Val­ley Re­gional Hospi­tal in Kentville.


The hos­pice will be lo­cated on this treed lot, with each of its rooms fac­ing the for­est view.


Diana Pat­ter­son cel­e­brates as she an­nounces the ground­break­ing af­ter nearly two decades of fundrais­ing and plan­ning. “It may be cold out, but my heart is warm to­day,” she said.

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