Representatives from the Squamish Hospice Society, Squamish Nation, N’Quatqua First Nations, District of Squamish, Edifice Construction and VCH gathered with donors and community members on November 28 to mark the start of construction of the new Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Sea-to-Sky Community Hospice.
The event began with a blessing from Squamish Nation elder, Humteya (Shirley Toman), "I would like to put a special blessing on all the people who are here now and the ones who have worked so hard to get this hospice set up so that we can have a proper entrance into our next lives.”
Photo: Humteya (Shirley Toman), Squamish Nation
The four-bed hospice, slated to open in mid-2019, will be located next to Hilltop House residential care centre, in a previously unused area of the building. It will feature a serene, home-like environment and provide compassionate, patient-focused end-of-life care for Sea-to-sky residents.
“This new hospice will to make a big difference for people living in the Sea-to-sky corridor,” said Keith McBain, executive director of long-term care and seniors programs at VCH Coastal. “Vancouver Coastal Health is very appreciative of the generosity that has helped make these beds possible so people can receive end-of-life care closer to home and closer to their loved ones.”
Photo: Keith McBain, VCH executive director of long-term care and seniors programs
The hospice will have private bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and foldout couches so family members can stay, a shared living/dining/kitchen area and sacred space, as well as a family laundry room and shower/tub room.
“Today is the result of the work of so many people in our community,” said Squamish Hospice Society chair Mark McKenzie. “It’s incredible to see construction beginning and to know that Sea-to-sky residents and their families will soon have access to vital hospice care closer to home in a peaceful and supportive setting.”
Photo: Dr. Judith Fothergill, Squamish Hospice Society
Funding for the new hospice has been provided by the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, who gave $300,000 in May 2018; the provincial government, who provided $400,000 in January 2018; and the Squamish Hospice Society and many community donors. Vancouver Coastal Health will provide an annual operating budget of $566,000.