Canada’s first hospice for the Jewish community is to be built in Toronto.
Plans for the Neshama Hospice were announced by officials in response to an urgent and “desperate” need for end of life care.
There are Jewish hospice programmes offered by social services in Canada but this hospice is the first of its kind as a standalone centre, the Canadian Jewish News reported.
It will have 10 beds and will offer nursing, personal support, ambulatory care, bereavement counselling and other palliative needs.
The hospice said it would welcome patients of all backgrounds while embracing Jewish values.
It is part of Ontario’s plan to build up to 20 new hospices within three years, extending palliative care to 2,000 people a year.
David Zimmer, a Liberal member of the provincial parliament, said senior citizens are the fastest growing age group in Ontario.
He said: “If there’s any time someone should be sensitive to a particular cultural or religious needs of any group, it’s at their end of life.”
The Neshama Hospice needs to raise $18 million [£10.3 million] to cover the construction, furnishings and maintenance of a new building.
Dr Sandy Buchman, a palliative care physician and a board member of the Neshama Hospice said: “We believe that the need for compassionate, respectful end-of-life care is really more urgent than ever, as Toronto’s population rapidly ages.
“We are in desperate need of hospice beds.”
Dr Buchman said the hospice, which will celebrate Jewish holidays and enforce kosher laws, will serve around 200 end-of-life patients per year.
The facility will also adhere to customs related to end-of-life procedures, as well as funeral and mourning practices, officials said.