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Free pass to Wellness Centre, YMCA for those with loved ones in palliative care

The YMCA of Pictou County and Pictou County Wellness Centre will now be offering free access to the facility and services for people who have loved ones in palliative care. Pictured from left are Wellness Centre general manager Dave Hood, Kim Bos, Gerald Muir, Phyllis Hermillon, Ian Bos and YMCA CEO Jim Pomeroy.
From left are Wellness Centre general manager Dave Hood, Kim Bos, Gerald Muir, Phyllis Hermillon, Ian Bos and YMCA CEO Jim Pomeroy. - Adam MacInnis

A new partnership is offering those with loved ones in palliative care in Pictou County free access to the Pictou County Wellness Centre and the YMCA.

The agreement between the Aberdeen Palliative Care Society, the YMCA of Pictou County and the Pictou County Wellness Centre aims to provide refreshment and respite to these people.

Ian Bos, a board member of the Aberdeen Palliative Care Society, said he first heard of this kind of program in Colchester County where loved ones of those in palliative care are able to access the RATH Eastlink Community Centre free of charge.

Both Dave Hood, general manager of the PIctou County Wellness Centre, and YMCA CEO Jim Pomeroy were quick to jump on board with the idea.

“I think their community outreach and what we’re trying to do is a perfect fit,” Bos said.

The way it will work is palliative care nurses and doctors will have passes which they can then pass out to loved ones of those in palliative care.

“We’ll offer a seven-day pass to families at the time,” Pomeroy said, adding that they can be renewed as needed.

For the Wellness Centre side of things, the families will have access to skating as well as the walking track.

“I think it’s just a chance for respite for the caregivers, especially those in the at-home program where they’re working 24/7 as a caregiver,” Bos said. “It’s a chance to kind of break some sweat and work off some of that anxiety and go back refreshed again.”

If nothing else it’s a change of scenery and a way to get active.

Pomeroy said another important aspect is the community side of it because it allows those going through the grieving process to get out and see people. People can often find support from the friendships they build as well as a sense of belonging, he said.

By having the passes available at the hospital, Hood believes it’ll help raise awareness for those who could benefit.

“The easy decision when you’re bogged down and stressed is to stay home or not leave the hospital because it’s too much to put your head behind,” he said. “If you make it as easy as you can for folks that are going through a difficult time, the chances are they’ll use it more.”

There are typically around 100 people in the palliative care program in Pictou County at any given time and the access will be available to families of those receiving care at the hospital as well as those being cared for at home.

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