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New hospice will be run independently

An artist's rendering of the proposed new Agape House (Graphic provided)

A proposed hospice to replace the ageing Agape House will be run independently, according to the Friends of Hospice.

While Agape House is managed and staffed by the Bermuda Hospitals Board and supported by Friends of Hospice, the charity has said it will to take on responsibility for management and operation of the new facility itself.

The charity added that it will continue to support the BHB during the “transitional phase”.

Alison Soares, the chairman of the Board of Friends of Hospice, said: “While identifying ways to create a sustainable business model in a challenging economic environment we recognised that it was necessary to do things differently as we moved forward, we needed to be nimble and creative in our approach.

“It was an extremely difficult decision and not taken lightly, especially as we have been partners with BHB for more than 25 years.

“But timing is everything and it was decided now was the ideal time for this significant move.”

A spokeswoman for Friends of Hospice said internationally several charities run independent hospice facilities, such as the UK-based charity Marie Curie which operates nine hospices.

“The ability of charities to offset operating costs through fundraising and the use of volunteer support play a key role in making the model an effective one,” the spokeswoman said.

“The original plans for the proposed hospice facility had to be re-examined as a result of financial strain placed on the local donor pool caused by Covid-19.

“This resulted in the charity reassessing their fundraising and revenue generating strategies, as did many organisations both locally and globally.”

The charity said the change in approach had resulted in changes to the layout and location of the facility to help provide additional services to the community.

Judy Richardson, the Chief of Nursing at BHB, said: “We wish Friends of Hospice all the best, and thank them for all the support they have provided Agape House over the years.

“BHB will continue to deliver a high quality, multidisciplinary, palliative care service, centred on patient needs, as this is required on-site for our palliative care patients.

“We look forward to finding synergies with Friend of Hospice as they follow their new direction that strengthen the delivery and quality of patient care in Bermuda.”

Jennifer Mahoney, executive director of Friends of Hospice added: “Hospice care is a delicate balance of medical care and all of the additional services that differentiate hospice care from that of a traditional clinical setting.

“We will be providing patient centred care, which will be inclusive and expand upon the model that has been put into practice over the past 30 years.

“Friends of Hospice are poised and ready to deliver the level of care our community deserves and looks forward to sharing further details of the project in the very near future.”

Friends of Hospice and the Bermuda Hospitals Board announced in July 2019 they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a purpose-built hospice on the BHB-owned Harbour Vista site on Berry Hill Road, Paget.

The new hospice, with equipment and furnishings, was estimated to cost $13.7 million with Friends of Hospice investing $1 million to be used as seed money for the project.

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Published July 31, 2021 at 7:55 am (Updated July 31, 2021 at 7:55 am)

New hospice will be run independently

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