First free-standing hospice in Saskatchewan opens in Saskatoon

Patients are now being welcomed to the Hospice at Glengarda in Saskatoon, an Emmanuel Health Facility constructed in a former Ursuline Sisters' residence. Funds for the facility were raised through a St. Paul's Hospital Foundation $21-million Close to Home campaign. (Photo by Matt Smith, SPH Foundation)

Catholic facility marks new era in end-of-life care

By St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation staff

The Hospice at Glengarda, Saskatchewan’s first free-standing residential Hospice will accept its first admission before the end of January.

Emmanuel Health Board Chair Daryl Bazylak says the opening marks a new era in hospice care in Saskatchewan.

“St. Paul’s Hospital began working with community partners to make a hospice a reality for Saskatoon in the early 1990’s. We couldn’t be more pleased to complete this project, broadening the palliative care service continuum in Saskatoon,” says Bazylak. “The outstanding generosity received from across the province to build the Hospice and advance end-of-life care programs is an indication of the need for increased services in this area.”

St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation’s Board Chair Neil Weber says: “The Hospice at Glengarda was built by the community for the community, to serve the people of Saskatchewan.”

The 15-bed Hospice at Glengarda, located on the corner of Hilliard Street East and Melrose Avenue, is governed by Emmanuel Health and owned by St. Paul’s Hospital. The building was purchased from the Ursuline Sisters in 2014, and construction and renovations to the facility were funded through St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation’s Close to Home Campaign for hospice and end-of-life care.

Bishop Mark Hagemoen prays during a blessing celebration Dec. 23 for the new Hospice at Glengarda Catholic health facility. (Photo by Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News)

In a quiet celebration Dec. 23, Bishop Mark Hagemoen blessed the Catholic facility that offers hospice care for all residents of Saskatchewan.

“I not only congratulate Emmanuel Health in partnership with the Sisters for this launching, but I am also very thankful to almighty God that the identity and mission of this Catholic health care institution – which is open and outreaching to all of God’s people, in the city of Saskatoon and beyond – will continue,” Hagemoen said.

Hospice bedroom and fireplace (Photo by Matt Smith, SPH Foundation)

A fellow subsidiary of Emmanuel Health, Samaritan Place, has taken on the role of developing and delivering the operational plan and patient programming for the Hospice.

Samaritan Place Executive Director Bette Boechler recently reflected on the newly expanded mandate. “Samaritan Place has experience in delivering compassionate and holistic long term care. The Hospice at Glengarda represents a unique opportunity to expand our services and expertise to include end-of-life care,” says Boechler. “We look forward to serving our community in this new way.”

Hospice main common area (Photo by Matt Smith, SPH Foundation)

Tracy Muggli, Executive Director of St. Paul’s Hospital, says that support for the campaign has done far more than simply build the facility.

“In addition to providing funding to construct and furnish the Hospice at Glengarda and effectively close a significant gap in end-of-life care, the campaign has supported renovations to the Palliative Care Unit at St. Paul’s Hospital, created a palliative education and training fund for care-givers and the community, and established endowments to support holistic care services such as spiritual care, bereavement care and art therapy,” reports Muggli.

“The Hospice at Glengarda was built by the community for the community
to serve the people of Saskatchewan.” – Neil Weber

St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation CEO Lecina Hicke expresses deep gratitude to to everyone who contributed in so many ways to the Close to Home Campaign.

“On Jan. 30, 2019 we launched the Close to Home campaign with our dear friend Gord Engel and his beautiful family at our side. Gord bravely detailed his personal inspiration to advocate for the campaign – he was preparing to say goodbye to his family and wished that our community would consider what they might similarly wish for their family during such a time – a safe, comfortable and home-like space delivering quality end-of-life care,” says Hicke.

“Sadly, Gord passed away in March 2019, but his story captivated our community and inspired countless gifts to the Close to Home campaign. We thank Gord, the Engel family and all of our supporters for helping to build the Hospice at Glengarda and provide holistic, compassionate and thoughtful end-of- life care for those we love, when they need it most.”

Donor wall at the new Hospice at Glengarda (Photo by Matt Smith, SPH Foundation)

The government of Saskatchewan committed $1.34 million in 2020-21 to operate the hospice and has committed to ongoing annual funding.

“This new hospice will provide exceptional care and comfort to individuals and families who are experiencing very difficult circumstances,” says Health Minister Paul Merriman. “Our government is proud to support it and we congratulate all who contributed to making it a reality.”

The hospice is integrated into the continuum of health care in Saskatchewan and there is no need for a separate application to receive care in the Hospice.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the opening of the Hospice at Glengarda,” says Jennifer Hiebert, Director of Clinical Integration, Public Health and Home Health – Primary Health Care with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. “The new hospice will be integrated into our existing health services and teams to support smooth care transitions for residents and families and will be a valuable support for our community for generations to come.”

Those who feel they would benefit from palliative services, including hospice care, are asked to discuss the option with their present health care team. Any member of the care team, including physicians, home care Registered Nurses, and staff from Client Patient Access Services (CPAS) can support a referral to hospice.

The first admission to Saskatoon’s new residential hospice is expected to be in the last week of January. For more information on care at the Hospice at Glengarda, please visit .

Due to Covid-19, a Grand Opening event will not be held. A virtual online tour of the Hospice at Glengarda can be viewed  at .

Donation announced

St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation’s Board Chair Neil Weber this week also announced a new donation to the Close to Home fundraising campaign: $250,000 from Orano Canada. “In addition to providing $175,000 to help build the facility through the Close to Home Campaign, they have also made the first major gift to the Hospice at Glengarda in the form of a $75,000 endowment to advance staff and volunteer cultural responsiveness training as it relates to end-of-life care.”

Tammy Van Lambalgen, Orano Canada’s Vice President, Chief Corporate Officer presenting Orano’s gift of $250,00. (Photo by Matt Smith, SPH Foundation)

“We are so pleased to offer support for this important and necessary facility in our city,” said Tammy Van Lambalgen, Orano Canada’s Vice President, Chief Corporate Officer. “For us, the connection is very personal and we are happy to see that despite the challenges of 2020, this facility is ready to serve residents and their families with compassion and high-quality end-of-life care.”