Squamish, B.C. – Sea-to-Sky residents will soon have more options for patients and families requiring end-of-life care. Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is partnering with the Squamish Hospice Society to build a four-bed hospice in Squamish, thanks to a generous donation from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation.
The foundation presented a $300,000 cheque to the Squamish Hospice Society at an event held today at the future home of the hospice, adjacent to the VCH Hilltop Residential Care Facility in Squamish. In recognition of the donation, the hospice will be named the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Sea-to-Sky Community Hospice. Construction will begin this summer, with the hospice expected to open in spring 2019.
"It is important for individuals and their family members to know that there are supports in place that provide them with comfort, dignity and quality of life should they require end-of-life care," said Health Minister Adrian Dix. "It is good news that these options will soon be closer to home for residents of the Sea-to-Sky region."
The hospice will be located in a vacant wing at Hilltop House, which will be renovated to provide a dedicated home-like environment where clients and families will experience compassionate, patient-focused end-of-life care. Currently, clients requiring this type of support are cared for in Squamish General Hospital, in Hilltop House, or outside the community.
"Compassionate hospice care is essential for our corridor and we are delighted to be able to support the construction of this much-needed facility," said Mei Madden, executive director of the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. "In addition to our regular funding, the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation's goal is to support one everlasting legacy project per year that will benefit residents of our local communities."
Key features of the new hospice include private bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, a foldout couch so family members can stay, a central living/dining/kitchen area and sacred space, as well as a nursing station, medication room and consultation office. The hospice will also have a family laundry room and a shower/tub room.
"This is a much-needed facility for our Sea-to-Sky communities. It will provide the option for patients and families to be together, close to home during a very challenging time, said Keith McBain, executive director of residential and seniors programs at VCH Coastal. "VCH is grateful for the generosity of the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and the ongoing support of the Squamish Hospice Society."
Trevor Harris and his family understand the value that a hospice can bring during those final stages of life. The Harris family spent five weeks in Squamish Hospital before Trevor's wife, Linda, passed away.
"We were fortunate to have a private room and space for our children and grandchildren to be with us during that time – especially over Christmas," Harris said. "I know this is unusual in an acute care setting. It was so important for us to be together and to support Linda and each other. This new hospice will make a huge difference to families like mine."
The Squamish Hospice Society also provided funding, in addition to the $300,000 donation from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. Vancouver Coastal Health will provide an annual operating budget of $566,000.
Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for the delivery of $3.3 billion in community, hospital and residential 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 highly specialized care and services for people throughout B.C., and is the province's hub of health care education and research.
Matt Kieltyka, Public Affairs Specialist
Vancouver Coastal Health
Phone: (604) 708-5338
Cell: (604) 833-4541