People in the Cowichan region in need of end-of-life care now have the option to receive community hospice care closer to home in a specialized environment.
“It’s vital that even in challenging and uncertain times during the pandemic, that people continue to have access to high-quality, compassionate end-of-life care,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Our government supports this new hospice, and we’re proud to have worked alongside project partners to bring Cowichan Hospice House to completion, which offers compassionate care to people with advancing illness who can no longer be cared for at home, as well as support for their loved ones.”
The hospice offers a soothing home-like environment featuring private rooms with adjustable cuddle beds for loved ones to lie alongside one another, as well as a spa area with a soaker tub for patients. Families have access to a kitchen and gathering spaces, as well as to a children’s play area.
A sacred space offers room for quiet meditation or a sacred gathering. Elders from Cowichan Tribes offered advice and guidance on some building design features.
“Cowichan Hospice offers emotional support and information for more than 900 people a year living with advancing illness, caregiving and grieving the death of a loved one,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors’ Services and Long-Term Care. “Dedicated staff from Island Health will provide nursing care, alongside Cowichan Hospice staff and volunteers, to provide both emotional and practical support for patients and families.”
The provincial government, through Island Health, is providing $1.4 million in annual operating funding, including medical staff. Cowichan Hospice led the fundraising of $10 million in capital costs for the new facility. Of this total, up to $6.14 million will be contributed by the Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District and nearly $2.1 million from the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation, including funds matched by the community.
Cowichan Tribes, four Cowichan Valley health-care auxiliaries, the Purica Foundation, service clubs and other community members made contributions to the construction of Cowichan Hospice House. The five Rotary Clubs in the region also raised funds to build the gardens.
Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan –
"This project was made possible by an amazing team who have worked hard to advocate for our community, along with a huge number of generous donors. It warms my heart to know that each patient who chooses to make Cowichan Hospice House part of their end of life journey will receive the best and most compassionate care in this beautiful facility."
Christa Fox, chair, Cowichan Hospice House Task Force –
"It has been an honour to work with the many partners who have come together to build Cowichan House. I deeply appreciate the hard work and generous financial contributions that have made it possible for people from Cowichan to have this wonderful option for care at the end of life."
Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health –
"The creation of Cowichan Hospice House, and the amazing care being provided there, is a testament to the power of community partnerships. This wonderful project was made possible thanks to a truly collaborative partnership between Island Health, Cowichan Hospice, Cowichan Tribes, and the many individuals and community organizations who have contributed toward the facility’s costs."
Aaron Stone, mayor of Ladysmith; chair, Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District Board –
"This is a big leap forward for families in the Cowichan region. To be able to spend the precious last moments of life together in a caring, culturally sensitive and supportive environment allows families to direct their attention to where it matters most, to those they love. On behalf of our board, I am so thankful to all of the people who have come together in collaboration to make this project such a success. I raise my hands to everyone who worked so hard to ensure we provide this safe, comfortable and beautiful space for families to come together in these most important moments."
Chief William ‘Chip’ Seymour, Cowichan Tribes –
"I love this place. In the past we’ve had one room set aside for our loved ones that are leaving us and it’s always too small to accommodate all the family coming and going. So when I look at this place, I see the amount of room so that we can be with our loved ones in their last days."
Anonymous client and donor, Cowichan Hospice –
"Getting my sister moved into the Cowichan Hospice has been a huge blessing for her and for my family. It is so clear that thought and care have been put into the construction itself, the finishings and the colours. All of it is so peaceful, spacious and clean. The staff could not be more compassionate or accommodating. This is truly a gift to the community for families like ours who must say good-bye to a loved one. Thank you."
With the opening of Cowichan Hospice House, there are eight hospice beds available to serve Cowichan Valley residents. Seven beds are located at the new facility and one is located at the Chemainus Health Care Centre.
Cowichan Hospice services provided across the Cowichan region include confidential support programs, advance care planning education and a resource library. All Cowichan Hospice programs are available at any stage in the journey with an advancing illness or grief.
A celebration of the new hospice house can be viewed online: https://www.facebook.com/CowichanHospice