The City of Mississauga will finally receive its palliative care centre after years of campaigning for one.

The palliative centre plans to offer residential hospice services, including long-term and end-of-life care, for Mississauga residents. The future building aims to introduce 220 long-term care beds and community-based hospice programs.

The health centre reflects a partnership between Trillium Health Partners (THP) and Heart House Hospice (HHH) to establish Mississauga’s first residential hospice.

The announcement for the new long-term care centre arrives amid concerns over the growing number of seniors, estimated to triple by 2031. Mississauga is the sixth-largest city in Canada and the biggest community in Canada without a residential hospice centre.

According to an announcement by THP, the centre would help Mississauga residents “access the health care services they need, in the most appropriate place, and within their own community.”

This decision arrives at the heels of a province-wide investment to address its “hallway healthcare” crisis. Ontario’s Premier Council reported that, on average, Ontario patients are waiting too long to receive health care, and they are receiving healthcare in the wrong places.

“There are at least 1,000 patients receiving health care in the hallways of our hospitals. The wait time to access a bed in a long-term care home is 146 days,” said Dr. Rueben Devlin, Chair of the Premier’s Council, in a letter to Doug Ford and the Minister of Health last year.

To help put an end to hallway healthcare, it was announced that the province would receive an additional $68 million in support of small to medium-sized hospitals across Ontario. Ontario’s hospital sector received $384 million under the 2019 province budget to “end hallway healthcare and maintain critical hospital capacity.”

The province’s commitment also includes creating 15,000 new long-term care beds, while redeveloping 15,000 existing beds over the next five years.

The residential hospice centre will be located at 2210 Speakman Drive in the Sheridan Park Corporate Centre.

Several community leaders and stakeholders emphasized a strong need for the project. In her statement, Mayor Bonnie Crombie highlighted that this effort would “not only support our city’s ageing population but ensure that those approaching their final days can be cared for in their community in a way that is compassionate, dignified, and feels more like home.”

Crombie also described a personal connection to the project. The Mississauga Mayor was named Honorary Chair of the Bring it Home Campaign in 2015. The $15 million capital campaign was launched in support of Heart House Hospice building a residential hospice in Mississauga.

 “Mississauga has 20 per cent fewer long-term care beds per capita than the provincial average. And as of August, more than 4,560 people were waiting for a bed in a long-term care home in the city,” explained Michelle DiEmanuele, president and CEO of THP.

Before construction can begin the area will have to be rezoned which will take up to a year to complete. The date of the construction stages of the palliative care centre is still to be determined.

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