Sylvia Jones announces $89,400 in funding for Bethell Hospice

July 29, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

On Monday July 19, Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones announced $89,400 in funding for the Bethell Hospice Foundation.

In front of the Bethell Hospice gazebo for the announcement, Jones was alongside Bethell Hospice Foundation Chair John Sanderson, Bethell Hospice Foundation Director Bob Fines, Bethell Hospice Executive Director Margaret Paan, Bethel Hospice Foundation Executive Director Jeannette Vanden Heuvel, and Volunteer Program LEAD Kat Powell.

“It’s nice to be sharing some good news,” said Jones. “During the pandemic, Bethell Hospice has been especially critical for families. It’s because of that, and because of the acknowledgement of our government that things have been challenging and different during the pandemic, that we, through the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture, have a Community Resilience fund. Bethell Hospice rightfully and appropriately is one of the recipients of the grant.”

The funding is part of the province’s pandemic recovery efforts through the Resilient Communities Fund that is provided by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

“The Ontario Trillium Foundation Resilience grant helps local non-profit community organizations,” said Jones. “Bethell Hospice needs to be responsive and resilient to our communities end of life care needs and this grant will help them continue to provide care to patients and their families during and after the pandemic.”

The grant will allow Bethell Hospice to rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19 by improving infrastructure, creating prefab units for existing offices, and upping safety measures by adding a plexiglass screen for main reception.

“Bethell Hospice is pleased to receive the funding through the Resilient Communities Grant provided by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Trillium Foundation,” said Sanderson. “Bethell Hospice is the only residential hospice serving all of Dufferin County, Caledon, and Brampton. Everyone at Bethell shares the belief that each person has the right to die with dignity and to be surrounded by compassion and care

“Bethell Hospice residents and community programs were significantly affected by the protocols to keep everyone safe through the pandemic. We’re grateful for the support and belief in the importance of palliative care in our community. We really appreciate how big a supporter Minister Jones has been of Bethell Hospice.”

As the pandemic slows, Sanderson said a key factor in the need for the funding is to figure out how to get Bethell Hospice running as close to what it was pre-pandemic through safety measures and infrastructure changes.

“We’re bursting at the seams here,” he said. “Our staff has to take turns coming into work at Bethell—that was okay during the pandemic, but the more we can get back, the better it is for us. We’ve set up a space committee so we can figure out how we can get more people back and working. That’s where part of the funding will be used.

Bethell Hospice Executive Director Margaret Paan spoke candidly about the ever-changing world since COVID-19 became a constant factor.

“The pandemic has really spotlighted different issues,” she said. “This is the new normal and measures will have to continue to be taken, especially for us to provide the services we do.”

Bethell Hospice has long been a key part of the Caledon community with hospice being an essential component of the health care system. The services Bethell Hospice provides are free, giving individualized care and comfort to those in need, making funding like this a necessity for it to continue running in Caledon.

At the start of the pandemic, safety protocols were put in place which directly impacted clinical and administrative staffing, quantity of PPE equipment, COVID screening time, and the number of essential visitors allowed per resident.

This dramatically effected both the Bethell Hospice residents and community programs due to increased measures to keep residents, families, community clients, staff, and volunteers safe during the pandemic.

“The Resilient Communities Fund grant will ensure the team at Bethell Hospice can continue to provide critical outreach and support to our residential clients and family members and allow the installation of no-touch fixtures and the renovation of office space to provide appropriate distancing for administrative staff,” said Paan. “The impacts of the grant cannot be underestimated, especially during these unprecedented times.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading grant foundations. It has awarded more than $115 million to 644 projects over the last year to help build health communities in Ontario.

Jones stressed the importance of the foundation and that it’s not a decision made by the government who receives the funding, but the decisions are made by those who know the individual communities best.

“Ontario Trillium Foundation is an organization separate from the government,” she said. “We have volunteers who sit on the board and review the applications that are submitted and ultimately the decision is made outside of government. But it’s very comforting to know that volunteers who work and know and live in the community are the individuals who sit on those grant review teams. I want to thank in particular, our Caledon representative Cynthia Oudin. It’s really important people who live in the community and know the community are the ones reviewing those applications and making the decisions.”

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