Residential hospice opens its doors in Warkworth
MARK HOULT QMI Agency Long-time Warkworth resident Aureen Richardson came dressed in red to help cut the ribbon during the grand opening of the Bridge Hospice in Warkworth. Richardson was the hospice's first major donor. Danielle Gagnon, Tom Cunningham, Brenda Partridge and Neil Graham were also among donors and supporters cutting the ribbon.
Northumberland County's first and only rural residential hospice officially opened its doors Nov. 25.
The grand opening of the Bridge Hospice in Warkworth celebrated the culmination of seven years of planning and fundraising that began with a town hall meeting and a dream of providing compassionates, quality palliative care in a supportive, home-like environment.
Now the dream is a reality.
“This lovely and welcoming home is the result of years of planning and hard work,” hospice board chair Dr. Bob Henderson said as close to 100 guests gathered outside the hospice on Old Hastings Road to watch some of the hospice's key donors and supporters cut a red ribbon to mark the completion of the community project.
Henderson said the Bridge Hospice was made possible by “the generous support of many individuals, corporations and granting agencies, and the tireless efforts of a host of volunteers.”
Donors have helped the now mortgage-free hospice raise $450,000.
The spacious interior of the the Bridge Hospice contains a large, open-concept central room, a kitchen and dining area, a bathroom and quiet room, and three, bright, spacious bedrooms, all of which open out onto a deck overlooking a field and an old barn perched on a hillside rising behind the home.
Downstairs there is a family room, a guest room, a supply room and a meeting room for both hospice board meetings and other gatherings.
The Bridge Hospice will expand the choices available to patients and their families as they face “the end of a life,” Henderson said. “Many families find that for a number of very good reasons, dying at home is not a possibility,” he said, noting that without a hospice, the only option is for patients to end their days in an institutional environment such as a hospital.
But the Bridge Hospice will provide an alternative, “a warm, homelike environment, where dedicated volunteers and professionals will look after the dying person's care, leaving the families to focus all their time and energies on the one coming to the end of his or her life.”
Trent Hills Mayor Hector Macmillan called the construction of the Bridge Hospice “a huge effort.” But originating as it did in Warkworth, “it was only a matter of time” before the project was complete, he said. “It was obvious that this was going to be another Warkworth event, another Warkworth project that was going to happen.”
Northumberland-Quinte West MP Rick Norlock said the hospice is the work of “a caring, loving community.”
MPP Rob Milligan said the hospice is “a testament to the spirit” of Trent Hills and Northumberland-Quinte West.
“This is a joyous occasion,” he said.
Brenda Partridge, one of the Bridge Hospice's first supporters and volunteers, said the hospice was “a team effort” involving volunteers and supporters from Warkworth, Trent Hills, Northumberland County and beyond. “There were people from Norwood and Havelock and Stirling helping us too,” she said. “I've never been involved in anything that had this much of a team effort.”
Partridge attended the first town hall meeting to discuss the hospice, and she and her husband Ken later made the land available for its construction.
“I believed in the concept,” she said of her decision to support the Bridge Hospice.
Hospice board member Dr. Bob Stephens, one of the key figures in launching the Bridge Hospice campaign, was among those taking part in the grand opening celebrations.
“I'm very excited and very pleased that the hospice has finally been completed and is ready to go,” he said. “It's been a long struggle, but we've had great cooperation from the donors, from the volunteers, from the board and from people who have expertise in many fields who have put their shoulders to the wheel and made it possible.”