[Watershed Presents]

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Under the umbrella of Community Care Northumberland, Ed’s House will welcome palliative care patients and their families with open arms.

When Stewart Richardson tours people around Ed’s House, there’s a sense of boyish excitement in his voice. And well there should be. After four long years of planning and fundraising, his dream and the dream of so many volunteers and Northumberland health care professionals – to build a hospice for palliative care patients – has become a reality.

Indeed, Ed’s House will be a doorway to heaven when it opens this fall, a gentle sanctuary where palliative care patients can die with dignity with their families close at hand, free from worry.

With that in mind, the hospice design is thoughtfully and purposely laid out to allow for privacy and comfort. There’s a dining room, a well-equipped kitchen, a laundry room and a number of living rooms with televisions, comfy couches and chairs, even a fireplace. The bedrooms are large enough so that family members can sleep beside their loved ones. Facing west, looking into the sunset is a spiritual room that opens to a wide deck where patients and family can meet for moments of reflection to ease the pain of death.

But Ed’s House will offer so much more than a homelike atmosphere and six hospice beds.

Behind the scenes of the hospice, a collaborative team of health care professionals under the umbrella of Community Care Northumberland will meet the highest standards of palliative medical care set out by the province, ensuring that patients and their families receive the emotional and medical support they need.

Ed’s House will also become a hub for community outreach and learning, a place where health care workers and volunteers can channel their knowledge and understanding of palliative care and share that knowledge with the Northumberland community.

While Stewart Richardson is only one of a team of volunteers who over the years raised $10.3 million, his enthusiasm is representative of the pride and satisfaction that comes with the completion of a massive community undertaking.

Thanks to the extraordinary volunteer efforts, the provincial government’s support and the generosity of the community, Ed’s House will open with six palliative care beds, but it is designed with the future in mind. Eventually the hospice will accommodate ten patients.

There’s no question, when you knock on the front door of Ed’s House, whether you’re a friend, a family member or a palliative care patient, you’re “knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door.”