Four community hospice beds to open at Yucalta Lodge on Monday

Yesterday morning marked the grand opening of Hospice at Yucalta, which will be receiving patients starting Monday.

Representitives from Island Health

Yesterday morning marked the grand opening of Hospice at Yucalta, which will be receiving patients who are nearing the end of their life starting Monday.

The project is a joint effort between Island Health’s end of life and residential care programs as well as Yucalta Lodge, the Campbell River Hospice Society and the Campbell River Hospital Foundation.

The four bed community hospice space is part of Island Health’s End of Life strategy to double the amount of hospice beds on the Island by 2020.

“While partners have worked extremely hard to make Hospice at Yucalta a reality, we all acknowledge that it could not have been done without the generousness and kindness of the Campbell River people,” said Don Hubbard, Island Health’s board chair.

The hospital foundation and the hospice society partnered to raise funds for the furnishing and items to create a comfortable, home-like atmosphere for the patients and their families.

At the entrance, which is separate from Yucalta’s main entrance, there is a Himilayan salt lamp which will be turned on when someone in the facility dies.

As well as the private rooms with separate bathrooms, the hospice space features a family room with a kitchenette. Just outside the entrance is an outdoor patio with a gazebo, and people have volunteered to build cedar benches for the area.

However, palliative and end of life care is much more than just providing beds.

“Hospice at Yucalta will be a place which challenges the despair, the darkness and the sadness of ill health and it replaces them with hope, light and joy even at the end of life,” said Jacqueline Spies, director of the Campbell River Hospice Society.

The society will be providing their volunteer services to the patients in the facility including anticipatory grief support, vigil support, bereavement counselling and caregiver support.

Home care nurses, social workers and palliative physicians will also be working at Hospice at Yucalta and a full range of services will be available to the patients.

“I want to acknowledge and appreciate all those who have provided and who continue to provide the compassionate care for patients at the end of their lives and the family and friends,” said Pauline Bernard, of Island Health. “Your commitment to care is absolutely outstanding.”

The five Yucalta Lodge residents who had to give up their rooms and move to another part of the lodge were also acknowledged and thanked at the ceremony.

Despite five beds being converted for hospice care, there has been no loss to the number of funded complex care beds in Campbell River. The five beds will be accounted for as part of the 40 new beds that will be opening at New Horizons later this year.

One of the four private hospice rooms at the new facility. Additional furniture will arrive next week.