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Research being done, community engagement sought, as hospice proposed for Digby

David Cvet, Smith's Cove resident and co-founder of the Atalanta Hospice Society.
David Cvet, Smith's Cove resident and co-founder of the Atalanta Hospice Society. - Contributed

DIGBY, N.S. – A spokesperson for a group that wants to see a five-to-10-bed residential hospice established in the Digby area says they are gathering information and trying to get the word out about the idea.

David Cvet, co-founder of the Atalanta Hospice Society, which is pursuing the project, says they feel it’s important and are looking for community support.

A Smith’s Cove resident, Cvet recently made a presentation to Digby town council and he says he plans to talk to other local municipal units about it as well.

“We’re in the process now of trying to get the word out,” he said in an interview, “and the community needs to understand that this is a community project. We need the community engaged, and engagement is going to be either time or money or both.”

He says the group envisions this being a five-year or perhaps 10-year initiative. As part of their research, they have spoken to people who are – or who have been – involved in hospice projects elsewhere, notably New Brunswick and Toronto.

“Everybody has been very forthright with information and assistance,” Cvet said. “Those people have gone through it.”

Atalanta – the name chosen by the Digby-area society – was the name of the ship captained by Rear Admiral Robert Digby that led a flotilla of United Empire Loyalists to Conway in the early 1780s. The name seemed fitting, Cvet said, given that people who are nearing the end of their life sometimes will speak in terms of going on a journey.

The society was formed last year. Cvet and others involved in the group are members of the Order of Saint Lazarus, whose roots go back to the 12th century at a leper hospital in Jerusalem. The organization’s activities include advocacy, training and support for palliative and hospice care in Canada.

“Ultimately,” Cvet said, referring to the Digby group, “we want to establish a facility here that will focus on respectful and dignified end-of-life care, and there’s nothing like that around here.”

At this point, he said, the idea is let people know about the group and about what they aim to accomplish and hopefully generate some community interest and support.

“Our intention,” he said, “is that once we have some assets – whether they’re cash or physical assets like land or something like that – then we’re going to approach the province and the Nova Scotia Health Authority and say, ‘hey listen, we’re serious, we actually have assets. We don’t have enough to do this, but we do have a chunk of assets to show you that we are a serious entity and that you should pay some attention to us and maybe help us with some funding.’”

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