John Thomas and Denese Alexander officially open Glengarry Hospital's Robert D. Thomas Memorial Comfort Care Room where patients can spend time with their family in their final days.

John Thomas and Denese Alexander officially open Glengarry Hospital's Robert D. Thomas Memorial Comfort Care Room where patients can spend time with their family in their final days.

New palliative care room opens at Glengarry Hospital

Patients nearing the end of their life will now have a peaceful, private place to spend the end of their days at Glengarry Hospital.

Patients nearing the end of their life will now have a peaceful, private place to spend the end of their days with a new palliative care room at Glengarry Hospital.

The Robert (Bob) D. Thomas Comfort Care Room opened its doors earlier this week and offers patients who are about to die a comforting, private space to spend time with their families.

“When it comes to end of life, families like to be together so we like to have a space where residents can move and have that privacy and the time and space to spend with loved ones,” said Lori McLeod, executive director of the Elder Care Foundation. The room comes equipped with a TV with a USB port and stereo so families can bring in photos, movies or music that might stimulate positive memories, a love seat and chair that fold out so people can spend the night, and a microwave and fridge so they can share meals together.

“End of life care rooms make that experience much more meaningful for families and allows them to spend that time together. It’s a peaceful loving environment,” said McLeod, adding that it still has all the necessary medical hookups and lifts.

The roughly $30,000-project (which was formerly a wheelchair storage room) was funded mainly through two major donations from families who know first-hand the need for palliative care rooms.

The first was from John Thomas whose father spent the last year and a half of his life at Glengarry Hospital.

“The compressor would come on at all hours of the night, there was no comfortable bedding it in. They basically rolled dad’s bed in there and we spent eight days with him in the heat and the cold,” said Thomas, adding that the hospital would not have been able to fund the room on their own.

“We’re just happy to see families being able to have a comfortable space to send their loved ones off rather than the horror of the eight days that we spent here.”

The second donation came from Denese Alexander, a recreation therapist at Glengarry whose husband Darin spent his last two weeks at the palliative care room at Royal Jubilee Hospital.

“My husband said ‘please, don’t leave’ and I didn’t and these families won’t have to either,” said Alexander. “My husband came and volunteered here and he loved the work that I did, so it’s special to have it come back here.”

The room is already getting use with five families who have used the facility.