Squamish, BC – Sea to Sky families can now receive dignified, supportive end-of-life care for their loved one in the comfort of their own community with the new Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Sea-to-Sky Community Hospice.
The four-bed hospice is now open thanks to overwhelming support from the community. Located in a significantly renovated wing at the adjacent Hilltop Long Term Care Home, the hospice provides a dedicated home-like environment where clients and families will experience compassionate, patient-focused end-of-life care.
"People entering the end of their journey are facing a challenging time and need comfort and support with high-quality care," said Health Minister Adrian Dix. "That's why I am proud to support the opening of the new four-bed hospice available for Squamish and area residents. Through the new hospice, families with loved ones can stay together in a quiet, home-like environment as they process the transition."
Clients requiring this type of support were previously cared for in Squamish General Hospital, Hilltop Long Term Care Home or outside the community. Recognizing the need for more end-of-life care options for Sea to Sky residents, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) partnered with the Squamish Hospice Society to build the $2.6 million hospice.
"I think people can relate to hospice care. They know of loved ones who have passed and recognize the positive attributes that come with a hospice," said Keith McBain, Executive Director, Long Term Care & Seniors for VCH's Coastal Community of Care. "The community really rallied around this hospice and because of that we now have a welcoming space for families to use when they need it."
Key features of the new hospice include private bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms for patients, a central living and kitchen area, a sacred space and a fold-out couch so family members can stay overnight. The hospice also has a family laundry room and a shower/tub room. Staff have access to a nursing station, medication room and consultation office.
"This project really hit home to heart. We raised $2.6 million all because of our residents coming together from Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and all the communities along the Sea to Sky corridor to support each other," said Mark McKenzie, chair of the Squamish Hospice Society. "When people have a loved one who will pass away, grief and emotions come into play. Being able to support them in an environment with a peaceful setting and services that take care of families and their loved ones will be incredible."
The hospice was made possible thanks to $696,000 from the Sea to Sky Regional Hospital District, a $300,000 donation from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, and $400,000 from the Province distributed through the B.C. Centre for Palliative Care and Squamish Hospice Society. Vancouver Coastal Health will provide an annual operating budget of $566,000.
"We are thrilled that the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Sea to Sky Community Hospice will soon be opening its doors, ready to provide much needed compassionate hospice care in our corridor," said Whistler Blackcomb Foundation executive director Mei Madden. "We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of those people who have turned this vision of a caring, cost-effective and patient/family approach to care, into a reality and we are honoured that it also bears our name. It is comforting to know that residents will now have this care available to them close to home."
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.3 billion in community, hospital and long-term care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola. VCH also provides specialized care and services for people throughout BC, and is the province's hub of health care education and research.
Public Affairs Specialist
Vancouver Coastal Health