Hospice Muskoka can count on support from Bracebridge council as the not-for-profit, palliative care organization looks to secure permanent funding.
“This is an issue that we’re all too familiar with,” Coun. Steven Clement told the town’s General Committee on July 12.
He put forward a motion that directs town staff to construct a letter to send to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Health Sylvia Jones urging them to support hospice on a priority basis. The motion will also be sent to neighbouring communities that receive support from hospice asking them to pass similar motions.
According to the motion, hospice currently offers three end-of-life rooms, but has a plan that would allow them to add five palliative/respite rooms and a pediatric care room, but lack the funding to move forward with the idea.
Hospice was turned down in September for their $525,000 funding request to help with the project.
Mayor Rick Maloney says it’s “very, very clear” how high the need is for hospice. “It hasn’t been for a lack of the hard work of hospice management and the board,” he added.
The backing from Bracebridge council District of Muskoka council doing the same in June. Not only will a letter be sent to the premier and Minister of Health, but District Chair John Klinck suggested representatives advocate on hospice’s behalf at the upcoming Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference, which is being held next month.
“We need to really work hard with our upper-level partners, our provincial government, our MPP, our MP,” Maloney went on to say. “As we all know, there’s a lot of folks that go through various struggles in our community and to have the support that an organization like Hospice Muskoka offers at properly the darkest hour of need for a family is absolutely critical.”
Maloney said he will “do his darndest” to bring attention to the issue.
It’s noted in the motion, that was unanimously passed by committee and later approved by council, that Muskoka has 8.5-percent more residents over the age of 65 than the provincial average.