On Wednesday at Andy’s House in Port Carling, Norman Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka officially announced that the Ontario government will provide $315,000 in annual funding to open and operate the first three hospice beds at the facility.
“I am thrilled to announce the funding for these beds,” said Miller. “This funding will ensure this beautiful facility is able to offer comfort and care to patients nearing the end of their lives and support to their family members.”
Ontario is expanding compassionate palliative care services for patients and families to create more appropriate end-of-life care options outside of hospital to provide patients and their families with compassionate end-of-life support. Investing in hospice beds is part of the government’s plan to build a connected health care system that is centred around patients, families and caregivers.
“Hospice Muskoka is so encouraged by this announcement today, which signifies the first step in realizing the dream that is Andy’s House, a Hospice Palliative Care Community Hub,” said Sandra Winspear, Executive Director of Hospice Muskoka. “At last there is a place for the residents of South and West Muskoka to call their our own in life’s final journey. Words cannot express our gratitude to the local and provincial governments, our partners in health care, the Andy Potts Memorial Foundation and the many donors who have supported this journey.”
Andy’s House has been built using funds raised from the community and with the support of the District of Muskoka. The facility is named for Andy Potts, an OPP officer who was killed on the job when his cruiser hit a moose. Muskoka municipal leaders have been advocating for this funding including at a meeting with Miller and Health Minister Christine Elliott during the Rural Ontario Municipal Association Conference in January.
“Dedicated dollars from the government for operating costs at Andy’s House is crucial support for expanding palliative care options in south and west Muskoka beyond the hospital,” said Natalie Bubela, Chief Executive Officer at Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare. “This is tremendous news for the community, our Hospice Muskoka partners and all those who have worked so hard to make Andy’s House a reality.”
Construction of Andy’s House is almost complete and Hospice Muskoka expects to welcome their first patients in April.