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New hospice to be built alongside KEMH

Venetta Symonds, right, CEO of the Bermuda Hospitals Board, with Alison Soares, chairwoman of Friends of Hospice (Photograph supplied)

An agreement for a new hospice has been signed between Bermuda Hospitals Board and Friends of Hospice.

The memorandum of understanding allows the charity to proceed with building a hospice next to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, on Berry Hill Road in Paget.

Friends of Hospice has supported Agape House, the island’s only hospice, for 25 years.

Alison Soares, chairwoman of the charity, said Agape House provided “excellent care”, but that the needs of the community had grown beyond it.

Agape House, which is owned and operated by BHB, is more than 100 years old in parts, she added.

“It is our vision that everyone deserves the right to compassion, dignity, respect and comfort in their final days and our plans for the new-build will position us well to continue to provide the best hospice and palliative care for many years to come,” Ms Soares said.

“There is still much work to be done before we start construction, but we are grateful to BHB for making it possible for us to move forward.

“While plans are already at an advanced stage, this allows us to complete plans with the architects, finalise costs and timelines and ultimately share all details with the community, which will be in the coming weeks.”

The new hospice at Harbour Vista, 25 Berry Hill Road, will have eight single-patient rooms, each with access to a balcony, and gardens outside.

Standing on 1.23 acres, the hospice will have a central nursing station, as well as meeting rooms for families and a meditation room.

Venetta Symonds, the chief executive of BHB, welcomed the move.

She said: “Both BHB and Friends of Hospice staff working in partnership help ensure a wonderful and caring service to patients and their families. A purpose-built building provides opportunities to fully realise all the potential of this wonderful hospice service.

“We remain grateful to Friends of Hospice for their dedicated support and involvement over 25 years and we are excited to move forward on this exciting project with them.”

Agape House provides care for patients with a broad range of serious and life-threatening illnesses.

Friends of Hospice provides financial support, along with specialised therapeutic programmes and services complementary to medical treatment, as well as meals.

Additional details on the new hospice, including architectural drawings and fundraising plans, will be released by the end of the summer.