A residential hospice unit is scheduled to open in Miramichi in the new year.
Hospice Miramichi Inc. announced the six-bed unit Wednesday.
The hospice will be located on a private floor at the Mount Saint Joseph Nursing Home in the city.
Plans for a hospice in Miramichi have been in the works since at least 2019.
Paul McGraw, the chair of Hospice Miramichi, said the pandemic put those plans on hold.
"From the initial business plan that we have as an organization our intent was to eventually get to the point where we could provide residential hospice services," said McGraw.
"After a bunch of bumps in the road, it's good to finally be there."
The unit will feature six beds, four for use as hospice beds and two for use as respite beds.
McGraw said the respite beds will allow caregivers to take a break once in a while.
"Let's say you are a caregiver [but] you just need a break for a week or two," said McGraw.
"We'll be able to bring your loved one into one of the respite beds. It's going to be a temporary stay. Give you a break for a week or two."
The new unit will provide palliative care to patients free of charge and is assisted by funding from the provincial government.
The Department of Health will provide funding for staff providing direct care to patients, while Hospice Miramichi will be responsible for funding non-clinical services such as rent, laundry and administrative work.
Expenses are expected to run about $400,000 annually.
"There's still a significant amount of money that has to come from the community," said McGraw.
"The fundraising efforts that we've been doing will be able to meet the goals and expectations that we have so that this facility can provide the kind of critical service that is needed here over the long term."
McGraw said the aging population and the high level of chronic illnesses in the area make residential hospice a must in Miramichi.
"We're not meant to replace any of the existing services that are ongoing … we are looking at providing an alternative," said McGraw.
McGraw said there needs to be some renovations done at Mount Saint Joseph to prepare it for the hospice.
He said he couldn't be more precise about when next year the unit will open but said the community will be kept updated.