Hospice Residence Case for Support


Residential Hospices have been welcomed in more than 150 communities across Canada and are recognized as a more appropriate care setting for patients who are dying, and unable to stay at home, and this enables a more patient/family centred approach to care at end-of-life than a hospital setting. End-of- life care is a time of deep and sensitive emotions and often with difficult physical symptoms needing specialized medical and nursing care. In 2010 the Society, in co-operation with the CBDHA, commissioned a study to assess the needs for hospice beds in our community (authored by Donna Towers). The report clearly recommended residential hospice beds.
In 2013, 674 patients died in the Cape Breton District Health Authority (CBDHA) Palliative Care Service – 573 in acute care beds in hospital. By now, 2015, the need is even greater for this residential hospice. Some facts that inform this decision:

  • This community has been affected by the former industrial based economy of coal and steel and the rates of cancer and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are much higher than the rest of the province.
  • Cape Breton County has a large senior population living with progressive, life-threatening illnesses, often with limited family support or caregivers who are elderly themselves. In 2011, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) had more seniors 65 years of age and older than both the provincial and national averages.
  • The development of a residential hospice in Cape Breton aligns well with the commitment of the Nova Scotia Department
of Health and Wellness to improving access to care, treatment and service across the life cycle by enhancing access to appropriate care in the most appropriate setting.
  • The vision of the Society is that the An Cala Hospice Residence will be an extension of the present Palliative Care Service providing care in a home-like setting with involvement of family and friends.
  • The cost of an acute care hospital bed in the CBDHA is at least twice as high as the estimated cost of care in a hospice residence.
  • At any given point in time in the calendar year, in excess of 250 patients are part of the CBDHA’s palliative care programs.


A significant component of the Palliative Care Service is currently missing, that of residential hospice beds. The Society has long supported home, long-term and hospital palliative care in Cape Breton County. The Society has now recognized the need for a residential hospice and are actively advocating and lobbying for the development of this residence. The Society has a proven track record of working side by side with the CBDHA.

The Society acknowledges that it has been able to support the exceptional Palliative Care Service because of the tremendous generosity of the community and partnering initiatives with many community groups.The Society is ready to assume community leadership on this essential expansion of Palliative Care.

  • A residential hospice is a home away from home for patients who no longer need to remain in hospital beds but for various reasons are unable to be cared for at home.
  • Demographics of an aging population and migration of available caregivers demonstrate the necessity for provision of patient and family-centered support within a residential hospice setting.
  • The 10 bed residential hospice would become part of the health care system enabling more patients to remain in a home-like environment for end-of-life care instead of acute care beds in hospital.
  • The residential hospice will primarily service patients from Cape Breton County. The hospice will also provide respite services for families who continue to provide at-home palliative care.
  • The residential hospice will also facilitate the future development of a Centre for Excellence in Hospice, Palliative and End-of-Life Care to further educate and train professionals, volunteers and family.
  • The focus of a residential hospice is on comfort and care and adding meaningful life to the remaining days for patients and their loved ones.


A residential hospice:

  • ensures that care is respectful and supportive of patient dignity;
  • respects the social and cultural needs of patients and families;
  • uses a team approach that may include volunteers, social workers and spiritual care providers in addition to highly trained and empathetic medical and nursing staff;
  • supports those patients whose caregivers or family members cannot be present;
  • focuses on quality of life; and
  • provides a homelike, comfortable, non-institutional setting for patients and families to focus on loved ones while trained staff tends to medical and nursing needs.


In September 2014, the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton County prepared an Operational Business Plan and submitted it to the Honorable Leo Glavine, Minister of Health and Wellness, to determine if the Province of Nova Scotia will assume annual operational costs once the Hospice opens. The Cape Breton District Health Authority has endorsed the business plan and supports the Society’s desire to take a leadership role in partnership with key stakeholders and the community at large to raise the $3.5 million needed to build and furnish the Hospice itself. The Society is currently seeking appropriate land within CBRM and intends to launch a major fundraising campaign during 2015 with a goal to welcoming patients and families into the An Cala Residential Hospice in the near future.

To support and promote compassionate care for individuals and their loved ones who are living with a life-threatening illness.