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Construction starts on new hospice centre in Duncan

Construction starts on new hospice centre in Duncan

July 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm  BC, News, Politics

People in the Cowichan region in need of end-of-life care will soon have the option to receive community hospice care closer to home.

“Government is pleased to recognize this next step in the construction of Cowichan Hospice House,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “High quality, compassionate end-of-life care for British Columbians is a vital service and we are committed to supporting our community partners in bringing important projects like this one to completion.”

The British Columbia government, through Island Health, will provide $1.4 million in annual operating funding, including medical staff. When completed in fall 2020, the facility will offer expert, compassionate care to people with advancing illness who can no longer be cared for at home. 

“I am thrilled work is commencing on the Cowichan Hospice House, which will provide much-needed compassionate end-of-life care for its patients,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. “This project would not be possible without the amazing team of volunteers, both past and present, who have always worked hard at advocating for our community. I am happy to say that this facility will take a patient and family first approach to care that will ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

When the facility is completed in fall 2020, there will be a total of eight hospice beds to serve residents of the Cowichan Valley:

  • seven beds will be located at the new Cowichan Hospice House, five of these are net new beds; 
  • two existing hospice beds currently located at the Lodge on Fourth long-term care facility in Ladysmith will be relocated at the new hospice facility; and
  • one bed will continue to be located at the Chemainus Health Centre.

Dedicated and specially trained staff from Island Health will provide nursing care alongside Cowichan Hospice staff and volunteers who will provide emotional and practical support for patients and families. Cowichan Hospice will continue to support people living with advancing illness and their caregivers whether at home, in hospital or in a long-term care home.

The new hospice house will be a home-like environment that will feature private patient rooms with garden views or walk-out patios, a pull-out bed for family members and a private bathroom. Families will have access to a kitchen, as well as to a family and children’s play area. A larger room will accommodate people with larger families. A sacred space will offer room for quiet meditation or a sacred gathering.

Cowichan Hospice has committed to raise $8.7 million to build and furnish the new hospice care facility with a total campaign goal of $10 million, including funds to meet the increasing need for Cowichan Hospice services in all settings. With the outstanding support of individuals and community-based organizations, $4.6 million has been raised and $5.2 million is being provided by the Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District. There remains $200,000 to raise to make Cowichan Hospice House a reality.

The region’s five Rotary clubs are fundraising for the gardens at Cowichan Hospice House. The gardens will be created when construction is complete.


Christa Fox, chair, Cowichan Hospice House Task Force–

“We are so pleased to see construction starting on Cowichan Hospice House. Many, many people have worked hard, as a team, to bring us to this exciting moment. It truly is taking a community to raise this house, with amazing gifts of time, expertise, and funds. Along with excellent medical care, care for the family has been such an important part of the planning for Cowichan Hospice House. We are pleased that family members will be able to use the kitchen and lounge, and that there will be special play areas for children, both inside Cowichan Hospice House and in the garden.”

Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health –

“Cowichan Hospice House will ensure that people will maintain their dignity and comfort as they near the end of their life journey. The development of Cowichan Hospice House highlights one of Island Health’s key strategic priorities – in alignment with the Province of B.C.’s direction – to work with our community partners to improve end-of-life care.”

Ian Morrison, chair, Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District Board – 

“The journey toward a new Cowichan District Hospital has revealed opportunities to improve and modernize how healthy living supports are delivered in this region. Elected officials often have to make hard decisions with regard to tax dollars. However, supporting Cowichan Hospice House with $5.2million from hospital district capital reserve funds was one of the easier decisions I’ve made.”

Mairi Pigeon, client and donor, Cowichan Hospice –

“When my husband Blair became ill, I was surprised to learn that there were no hospice beds in Duncan. My daughters and I feel very fortunate that he was able to stay at home throughout his illness. Knowing that if we hadn’t been able to care for him at home, that his last days would have been in a busy hospital setting really drove home the importance of supporting the Cowichan Hospice House project. Remaining at home isn’t always an option, but everyone deserves to live out their days in comfort and privacy. Soon, families will have access to expert care for the patient and support for family members in a warm, compassionate environment. Cowichan Hospice House will be an incredibly valuable addition to our community.”

Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley –

“Today’s groundbreaking is the result of the incredible dedication and hard work of Cowichan Hospice and I am so grateful for their efforts. I also want to acknowledge the fundraising support from the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation, which helped move this forward, and the generous contribution from the Cowichan Valley Regional District Hospital Board. This is an inspiring example of what can be achieved when we work together in community.”

Quick Facts:

  • Cowichan Hospice offers emotional support and information for 900 people a year living with advancing illness, caregiving and grieving the death of a loved one.
  • Cowichan Hospice services provided across the Cowichan region include Advance Care Planning education and a resource library as well as confidential individual and group support programs. All Cowichan Hospice programs are available at any stage in the journey with an advancing illness or grief.
  • Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 794,000 people on Vancouver Island, the Islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River.
  • With more than 22,000 staff and over 2,000 medical staff, 6,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals and much more across a large, geographically diverse region.

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