Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the questions we’ve been asked:

What is a hospice and how is it different from a hospital?

The term “hospice” comes from the Latin word “hospitum”, which means guesthouse.

Originally, a hospice was a place of shelter for weary and sick travellers returning from religious pilgrimages. In the 1960s, a British physician, Dr. Cicely Saunders, began the modern hospice movement. She used the word hospice to describe something between a hospital and a home – with the skills of one and the hospitality, warmth, and time of the other.

Why choose a residential hospice?

It is very difficult for all of us to face a terminal illness and it is important to have a choice about where we will spend our last days. For some, this place is a hospital or nursing home; others wish to stay in their own home. However, many people prefer to spend their last weeks in a residential hospice where they and their family can receive specialized support from the Hospice staff.

Why do we need a residential hospice now?

It takes an average of 56 hours a week to care for someone in the last few weeks of life. This is very difficult for many families when both adults are working. A hospice will provide that level of support for the client and the family.

As our population ages, there will be an increased demand for hospice services. Northumberland County has become a retirement destination which means we not only have more seniors living in this area, they are often without the support systems that they may have had earlier in their life and the residential hospice is a crucial part of the health care team.

Why can’t I just go to the hospital?

The local hospitals are very full. For example, Campbellford Memorial Hospital in Trent Hills is at 98% capacity. When palliative patients are admitted, the hospital may not have enough beds to move them from the Emergency Department. If they are moved to the acute care part of the hospital, they may share a room with one or more patients. By building a residential hospice, we are freeing up beds throughout the hospital. The beds in a residential hospice also cost less than a hospital bed which is a more efficient use of our health care system.

The atmosphere in a residential hospice is calm, quiet and comfortable. Each client has his or her own private room. The family is encouraged to come and spend as much time as they like with the patient – even eating and sleeping there if they wish. Everything is geared towards supporting the client and the family so they can maximize the quality of every day.

Why can’t I stay at home?

Most of us would prefer to stay at home, but the last few weeks are very difficult for the client and the family. By moving to a residential hospice for the last few weeks, the family receives the support they need to be fully present for their loved one without having to worry about all the details of daily living. The patient also knows that the hospice staff and volunteers are passionate and knowledgeable about palliative care. The client will receive the best medical support in a warm home-like setting. It is really the best of both worlds.

Who would receive care?

We welcome anyone in Northumberland County and surrounding communities who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. We also provide care to family members who live elsewhere, but want to be near their family at this important time of their life. Referrals may come from physicians, hospitals, nursing homes, Community Care Access Centres, as well as family and friends.

What will it cost?

There is no fee for residential care at The Bridge Hospice. We rely on private donations, In Memoriams, fund-raising events and bequests.

How can I help?

Volunteer your time, make a tax deductable donation, pledge your support or make a bequest in your will. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

How does a person become a resident?

Please review our Becoming a Resident Page for admission criteria and our Referral for Admission Consideration form.