The TDPCR's 20th anniversary highlights compassion and innovation.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony and gathering marked the public reveal of the state-of-the-art palliative care facilities at the Teresa Dellar Palliative Care Residence (TDPCR). Postponed by the pandemic, attendees were invited to view the Residence that was expanded to its current capacity of 23 beds. The Residence is also celebrating 20 years since its founding, initially led by Co-Founder and former Executive Director Teresa Dellar, whose loved ones and family were in attendance to commemorate the occasion.
Almost two years ago to the day, the Residence unveiled its new name – the Teresa Dellar Palliative Care Residence and closed its capital campaign and construction project- Caring & Sharing - Under one Roof. However, this was done very quietly due to pandemic restrictions. The project to expand the building to accommodate 23 beds came in at a budget of 14.7 million, completed in September 2020.
"We would not be where we are today without the hundreds of generous donors who were right by our side. Every individual, foundation and corporation who contributed to our campaign will forever be embodied in the bricks and mortar of this new building," shared Dawn Svoronos, President of their Operations Board.
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The Residence's evolution has been exceptional. It opened as a nine-bed residence in 2002, and is now the largest free-standing palliative care facility in Canada. Since its opening, they have welcomed over 5,300 patients and more than 20,000 loved ones. In addition, the capital campaign was the springboard for launching the Montreal Institute for Palliative Care, which expands access to palliative care for Canadians all over the country through education and research programs.
Providing quality end-of-life care is no easy feat, yet the Residence understands its staunch responsibility in providing this much needed service: "We may not add days to life, but we most certainly add life to days. Families and patients tell us how special and helpful the time spent at the Residence is for them, accomplishing many last wishes there," shared the Executive Director of the Residence, Mrs. Dale Weil.
The West Island News spoke to Mrs. Weil on this monumental occasion for the Residence.
Q: What are some of the highlights or challenges the Residence has overcome throughout its 20-year existence?
Mrs. Weil: The ongoing highlight is continuously being able to make such a difference in people's lives, which happens one person at a time. Each time that it happens, it's incredibly fulfilling knowing that they've had good days and that we've brought life into their final moments.
In 2012, at the government's request, we added another 14 beds, spread out between the Residence and another long-term care facility. Being capable of making those adjustments and taking care of 23 patients was undoubtedly a highlight.
The Montreal Institute for Palliative Care expanded our outreach beyond our four walls. It was Teresa's vision to have a role to play in sharing our knowledge with different geographies and palliative care settings.
The loss of Co-Founder Teresa Dellar in 2019 was devastating, and we tried to keep everything that we knew was important to Teresa in mind during our decisions. As a result, we were more determined to complete the project and live out Teresa's dream. Jonathan and Nicholas (Teresa's children) have always been involved in the Residence and represent us through the Young Ambassadors program. Gavin (Teresa's husband) helps us at every event we put on, and their support has been continuous. Creating this new beautiful facility and providing the same beautiful environment for all residents is such a monumental moment.
Q: Looking ahead to what is hopefully another 20 years of excellence in palliative care, what are your aspirations for the Residence and the future of end-of-life care?
Mrs. Weil: Only about 30% of people across the country have access to adequate palliative care. We are very passionate about helping healthcare professionals understand the principles of palliative care so that they may bring that capability to their particular experiences with patients. We try to promote demystifying palliative care for the public and make sure that they can understand all end-of-life care options. We are constantly evolving, researching, and trying to learn and improve. We never stand still.
A special thank you to Dale Weil and Elizabeth Huart of the TDPCR.