After several years of little progress with the project, the Kalein Hospice House finally has a home.
“It’s an incredible community asset to have this facility,” said Sandi Leatherman, board chair for the Kalein Hospice House.
The project started several years ago with a feasibility study that was conducted in the area, which indicated there was a need in the community for a hospice house.
Leatherman said it didn’t look as though it was going to be possible at the time because it’s quite a large project to take on.
“A couple of years ago we received support for the land that was purchased just a few years ago on Hoover Street — that was where the hospice house was going to go,” said Leatherman.
Shortly afterwards, an advisory committee and a board was formed.
Leatherman said the board has been working for the last 18 months grounding their vision.
About a month ago, the monastery property in Rosemont became available, which is when the board, now with charitable status, decided to re-evaluate the ultimate site of the care facility.
“It was decided that the monastery property was more suitable for the vision, so the society put an offer on the table and the sisters accepted it,” said Leatherman.
“April 1, 2012, the society will own this property and in the meantime, we’re in a very active stage of the project with strategic planning beginning.”
Leatherman said the 10,000 square-foot building has “nice strong bones” but the interior will most likely need to be reconsidered to be able to hold what they want to make happen inside the building.
“Renovations will be determined based on the strategic planning feasibility business plan that is yet to be completed. So that’s what we’re going to be actively working on and once we finish that we’ll enlist the support of designers and architects to help us imagine what we need to do,” said Leatherman.
There’s still some time before the hospice house is up and operating, but when it is it will serve not only Nelson, but the region as well.
To do so, it will need the support from locals in gifting as well as volunteering. Those wanting to contribute can contact the Kalein Hospice Centre at 250-352-2217.
The Kalein Hospice House will function as a regional facility, but it will also have an educational component.
“What we currently have are people that are often dying without the support of loved ones in their home… and that often happens,” said Leatherman, who has been involved in hospice work for the last 30 years as grief support.
“We all have this in common, we’re all going to die. And I think it’s something that remains in the closet until those end stages of life and then people don’t have the tools or the willingness to face it — it can create an awful lot of suffering in our lives,” said Leatherman.
“[The Kalein Hospice House] has practical applications, but it also has some wonderful healing opportunities for breaking down barriers and drawing people closer together.”