South Peace News
Patients in the High Prairie Health Complex and their families can now experience greater comfort and closeness during end-of-life care.
The palliative care suite at the hospital is now equipped with an expandable double bed, thanks to contributions from the High Prairie and District Holistic Palliative Care Society and the High Prairie Ladies’ Health Care Auxiliary.
Each organization donated about $25,000 for the bed, says Karen Zelman, Alberta Health Services volunteer resources co-ordinator in High Prairie.
“I heard a few comments from family members who stated they would have preferred to lay with their loved ones rather than just sitting beside the bed in their final days,” Zelman says.
“We listened to patient feedback and we recognized the single bed was just too small.
“We identified the expandable double-bed as something that would be more comfortable for our palliative care patients and their loved ones.”
Couples for instance, or parents of a dying child, want to be able to sleep or cuddle with that child and single beds were just too small, she says.
Both donating organizations are strong partners in local health care.
“We feel it is very much needed,” says palliative care society president Ione Perry.
“The palliative care society wants everyone to be treated with respect, dignity, compassion and as much comfort as possible.”
Health care auxiliary president Margaret Kruger says that organization adds support.
“We raise funds for patient care, whatever is needed,” Kruger says.
After the need for an expandable double bed was identified, the two societies came together, with help from site manager Janet Farney, to make it a reality.
“We truly appreciate our community palliative care society and ladies auxiliary for supporting our vision of end-of-life care and togetherness.”
Samantha Nemec, care manager, agrees.
“We are very pleased to be able to enhance comfort for our patients and their families in palliative care with this new expandable double bed,” she says.
“We thank our health care auxiliary and palliative care society for their generous, continued support.”
Farney says the addition is more than welcome by patients and families.
“While not traditional in palliative care, the idea of having a bed large enough for loved ones to be physically closer with their loved one encompasses the holistic vision of care,” Farney says.
“Touch is a very important sense, especially for patients in palliative care.
“Even when a loved one may no longer be verbally responsive, they can still sense an individual’s presence.”
The palliative care society’s annual Hike for Hospice is its main fundraising event and has been unable to host the event due to COVID restrictions the last two years.
The society graciously accepts donations from the community.
The health care auxiliary receives most of its donations through informal grassroots fundraising efforts and the gift shop that is located in the hospital.
For information on how to give, call the volunteer resources office at  523-6466.