While it’s not exactly what the Campbell River Hospice Society has been fighting for, it’s a start.
Last week, the Government of B.C. announced the funding of four new palliative care beds to be installed at Yucalta Lodge through the BC Centre for Palliative Care allocation of $637,798 for palliative care Island-wide .
While these four new beds will certainly be a boon to the community, executive director of the Campbell River Hospice Society Jacqueline Spies says they still hope to secure their own, free standing hospice beds, eventually.
“We have four beds coming to Yucalta Lodge, and I’m excited about that. The community should be excited about that,” Spies says, but adds she and the hospice society won’t be giving up their fight for standalone beds outside the framework of the hospital system, saying palliative care beds and hospice beds are not, contrary to some people’s opinions, the same thing.
“Island Health will not provide the employees on a free-standing hospice bed,” she says. “They would prefer that those beds be in one of their facilities, hence the four end-of-life beds for Yucalta. We, as a society, still have hopes and dreams that we will get our own hospice beds at some point down the road, but for now, at least the community will have these four.”
And so, with the addition of the new beds at Yucalta, the hospice society’s volunteers will have one more stop on their rotations throughout the community, but it’s a stop they’re happy to get to make.
“Our volunteers will continue to provide the services that we always have,” Spies says. “They go visit in the hospital, they go visit in the long-term care facilities, but now they will end their day at Yucalta Lodge. It’s just one more place where we’ll be providing services and we’re ecstatic to be doing that. It’s what we’re here for.”
Speaking of things they are ecstatic about and the hopes and dreams of the society, one of them is about to come to fruition.
On Feb. 15, Spies says, they get the keys to their new facility on Evergreen Road.
Almost four years after the organization was asked to vacate their location so it could be developed for another purpose, spurring a community-led initiative from some local businesspeople to get them their own home, they will finally have one.
Then they will need to furnish it and stock it with supplies for their programming, much of which was lost in a flood last fall which chased them from their location on Dogwood Street into an office downtown.
“We’ve had to re-order a lot of furniture and whatnot, but we also need to replace a lot of our arts supplies and other stuff we use for our programs,” Spies says.
In an attempt to replace some of those supplies, she says, you can expect them to be a bit more active on the fundraising front throughout 2017.
Last week, the society put on their second annual Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Night at Thunderbird Hall, and they’ll be having many other fundraising events throughout the year, as well.
“It’s great if members of the community just want to give us things,” Spies says, “but it’s always better, I think, when you can attend something and enjoy yourself, and feel like your $30 went a little bit further, so to speak.”
They are also about to send their annual letters out to the local business community requesting donations for their annual silent auction, which happens at the Ocean Pacific Boat Show each spring.
“That’s one of our biggest fundraisers,” Spies says. “New businesses keep jumping on board with things they contribute to the auction, which is amazing. It’s getting bigger and bigger every year.”
They will also be hoping the opening of the new Evergreen Road facility will encourage some donations to the society once people see what they’ve accomplished in building it.
“We’ll also be doing a grand opening for the new facility probably around the end of March, and then there’s the Hospice Walk in May, and those things are great ways for people to get involved helping and participating. It really does make a big difference.”
Anyone who would like to keep up with the Campbell River Hospice Society should simply head online, Spies says.
“I tell people to go check out the website (crhospice.org) once in a while and watch for announcements, or if you’re one of those Facebook people, go over there and like us. That’s usually the best way to keep up to date with what we’ve got going on in terms of workshops, events, fundraising, any of that sort of stuff.”