The 100 Mile District Hospice Palliative Care Society is partnering with Interior Health to create a much-needed space for palliative care patients with high-level medical needs.
The intention is to create a wing in the 100 Mile District General Hospital in acute care with two client rooms, a roll-in shower room, an area that will be set up as a family space with a mini kitchen, bathroom and sleeping spaces. Interior Health is funding the structural renovations for the rooms, and have updated the electrical, plumbing, lighting, drywalling painting and flooring. 100 Mile Hospice’s goal is to provide specialized equipment to ensure quality care for the patient.
“It’s a very difficult time in people’s lives for both the patient and the family as they face the end of life and say goodbye,” said Tracy Haddow, executive director of 100 Mile District Hospice Palliative Care Society. “We want people to have all the support they need and a comfortable and home-like environment as much as possible.”
The plan is to raise enough money to purchase ceiling lifts to make patient transfer easier for both the patient and the nurses. Specialized pressure reduction mattresses are also at the top of the list as they are integral to patient comfort, skin health and wound management. 100 Mile Hospice will purchase a shower chair, a linen warmer, furnishings and comfort items.
Smart TVs will also be installed in each bedroom to help patients stay in touch with loved ones through video calls, as well as viewing for family photos, play music, or allow for the distraction of watching a show or movie.
“We want to make sure they have nice linens, so it doesn’t look like a hospital space but a bedroom,” Haddow said. “As much as we know the big things are important, we also know that the little things can make a huge difference in creating an environment that is warm and homelike.”
The additional amenities, aimed at making the end of life journey “less clinical and more supportive together with exceptional palliative medical care,” are anticipated to cost an estimated $120,000. The Hospice Society has already raised $60,000 from the community, businesses and private donations but is seeking more community support and grants to complete the project. A small patio will also allow patients and families to have access to fresh air.
Haddow maintains the new wing is a “worthy project” that affects the entire community, which has a high number of residents over the age of 55 and an influx of retirees moving to the area. Last year there were 35 palliative persons who died in acute care and 45 the year before.
“We want to be able to give them the best care we can so they can stay in the community,” Haddow said.
“I’m super excited how much the community has wanted to step up and support (the project),” she said. “I’ve had people tell me how much of a difference this would have made for them if this space had been in place at the time they were walking that journey. Almost everyone has a story … everyone is impacted at some point. If you haven’t already experienced it, you will.”
The South Cariboo Health Foundation has pledged $25,000 to the new wing, while the 100 Mile District Hospice Society Board has put forward $20,000 it has saved for such a project. It has also received donations from private individuals as well as businesses including LifeCycle Financial, Sunrise Ford, Williams Lake & District Credit Union, Titan Construction, 108 Lions Club, 100 Mile Rotary, The Canadian Log People, 100 Mile Vision Care, Nicolwood Medical, Gary Johnston Construction and Andre’s Electronics.
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More letters of request have also gone out and Haddow said she is grateful for any support to help complete this project. She has also applied for a potential grant, which is in the last phase of vetting and, if approved, would give Hospice 50 cents for every dollar that it can raise.
Brenda Devine, who is responsible for public relations and fundraising for the South Cariboo Health Foundation said the renovations will make a huge difference to individuals in acute care.
“This is really important because they are (Hospice) trying to enhance the palliative area and make it more special. It’s new and we wanted to be part of that,” she said. “It’s amazing for a small community what they’re going to create.
“There are so many families who will use these rooms,” Devine added, noting she experienced her own loss. “I know what families go through and how it’s important to have those comforts.”
Once the renovation is complete, the Hospice Society will being making turning it into a well-equipped area for care and a warm and comfortable place. A mural artist will start painting in one of the bedrooms, where the windows are too high for a view, while a Hospice society member will create and donate a stained glass for additional privacy in the area.
Two or more people with palliative medical needs are in acute care at any given time, Haddow said, so it’s important to both the individuals and their loved ones that they have access to the acute care medical team but also have some of the comforts of home.
“It’s really nice for people to be away from the bells and whistles and chaos of acute care itself but close enough to get the medical care they need,” Haddow said. “Everything is there but it’s more like their own space. It’s going to be a beautiful project we can all be proud of when it’s done.”