Hospice could become a regional service

Ladysmith council will vote June 16 on a motion to make Cowichan Valley Hospice a regional service function.

Cowichan Valley Hospice is thanking the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) directors for their decision to recommend that a regional service function be created to contribute to hospice care in the community.

North Cowichan council has supported the motion to make hospice a regional service, and Ladysmith council will consider the recommendation on Monday, June 16.

Last year, 67 people from Ladysmith and 39 from Chemainus received support from Cowichan Valley Hospice, according to president Mary Ann Deacon and executive director Gretchen Hartley.

This included one-to-one and group emotional support for people diagnosed with an advancing illness and their families, and others grieving the death of a loved one. Cowichan Valley Hospice also offers advance health care planning education and information.

“In our community, we have among the highest proportions of aging people in B.C. who will need hospice services, and conversely, in coming years, the region will have a declining proportion of potential caregivers from within the working-age population,” stated Deacon and Hartley. “Cowichan Valley Hospice is working with our community to develop the care that is needed now and into the future. Ongoing funding from the CVRD will provide a solid anchor for hospice services. It also sends a strong signal about our community’s commitment to the ongoing development of end-of-life and bereavement care.”

Hospice services are provided free of charge to more than 800 people a year because of community fundraising, personal and corporate donations and annual grants from Gaming and the Cowichan United Way, according to Deacon and Hartley. Currently, Island Health provides a small amount of funding.

“The most significant contribution to hospice care is the work of our volunteers, which, when calculated at a rate of $16.50 per hour, was worth $201,041 in 2013,” stated Deacon and Hartley.

CVRD regional service funding must be approved by all municipal councils and Electoral Area directors and through a public approval process.

Deacon and Hartley encourage residents who feel hospice care is important to share their opinion.