The Town of Amherst has thrown its support behind local efforts to establish a hospice for the town and surrounding area.

Council, in a letter signed by Amherst Mayor David Kogon, is asking provincial Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey to support efforts by the Cumberland County Hospice Society to establish a hospice in the Amherst area.

“I, along with the town council of Amherst, fully support this group and respectfully do ask and encourage you to work toward providing a hospice care facility so badly needed in the community,” Kogon said in the letter to the minister that was approved Nov. 20, during council’s monthly committee of the whole meeting.

The mayor noted there is a “dire need” for hospice services in the area and currently there are no dedicated palliative care beds at the local hospital.

While the majority of deaths occur in a hospital, 70 per cent of people say they prefer to die at home, and while “home is not possible for many, an alternative to being in hospital is most needed, Kogon wrote. “Hospice can meet that need.”

The mayor noted the local hospice society has 600 members throughout the county who are working towards establishing a hospice in Amherst.

He also noted that a piece of land was recently donated to the society by a local citizen, who stressed the site must be used for a hospice.