Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary helps Hospice

The Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary recently donated $25,000 to the Cowichan Valley Hospice Society.

Pictured from left are Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary president Susan Beaubier

Pictured from left are Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary president Susan Beaubier

Three programs run by the Cowichan Valley Hospice Society will get a boost this year thanks to the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary.

The Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary works hard to turn the donations to its Thrift Shop at the corner of Maple and Oak streets by Chemainus and area residents into funds that support significant health care and service for people at every stage of the life cycle.

Thanks to community members who contribute to the Thrift Shop and the hard work of Auxiliary members, the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary donated $25,000 to the Cowichan Valley Hospice Society last week. These funds will support three hospice programs in the next year.

“We are so delighted to be supporting hospice because so many of our Auxiliary members plus members of our community have been users of hospice services,” said Susan Baubier, president of the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary. “Truly, we know of what [they] do and are truly appreciative. It was very easy to decide where to give this money.”

Gretchen Hartley, executive director of Cowichan Valley Hospice, says the $25,000 contribution has a huge impact on the society.

“It’s really quite significant,” she said. “We so appreciate the community support for hospice programs in this way, people donating to the Thrift Shop and the Auxiliary doing their hard work to turn it into cash. There’s not a lot of core funding for hospice programs, but we’re so supported by the community that it works. It’s such a nice circle that hospice services are delivered in the community, and they’re supported by the community.”

The funding from the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary will help support 40 hours of basic training for each of Cowichan Valley Hospice’s skilled hospice volunteers. It will also help to provide advanced training in areas such as supporting people who have experienced a traumatic or difficult death, or communication with those with impaired cognitive function.

“The training is central to all hospice services,” said Hartley. “It really helps us both provide the best quality care and also helps keep our volunteers interested and motivated.”

The donation from the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary will also help fund the developing children’s grief program. Currently, this program is run in collaboration with Community Options Society. This new program provides the only support groups in the Cowichan Valley region specifically for children and youth grieving a death, according to a press release.

“For many years, we have offered parents and grandparents support to help care for their grieving children with information and library resources, and we are just starting to develop programming specifically for youth and children grieving a death,” said Hartley. “We will continue to work collaboratively as this program grows. In Ladysmith, for example, Rainbows offers group support to children facing a variety of types of loss, including divorce and death, and the Youth Crisis Worker also offers very important support for youth facing a whole variety of challenges. We will work with existing services to develop programming tailored to children and youth dealing with a death.”

The donation from the Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary also enables the Cowichan Valley Hospice Society to provide vigil care for Chemainus area patients in their last hours of life. Vigil volunteers will provide care around the clock for Chemainus residents whether at home, in the Chemainus Health Care Centre or at Cowichan District Hospital.

Vigil care is an ongoing program that Cowichan Valley Hospice has been offering since the society began operating, and Hartley says the program is expanding as demand increases. The program has now grown to the point where they have five co-ordinators and a team of about 50 volunteers, she noted.

“We try to provide coverage around the clock, if requested, in those last few hours,” said Hartley.