Plans for a hospice centre in Squamish are gaining momentum.
The Sea to Sky Regional Hospital District board has agreed to donate
$696,000 over two years for the Squamish Hospice Society’s $1.74 million Sea to Sky Community Hospice Centre.
“That is a fantastic boost to our campaign,” said Dr. Judith Fothergill, of the non-profit Squamish Hospice Society.
Currently there are no designated hospice beds in the corridor even though Squamish Hospice Society members have been working toward that goal for over a decade.
The hospice centre will be a home-like setting that provides privacy and access to consultation teams of family physicians, nurses and other supportive professionals.
Mayor Patricia Heintzman, who is also chair of the regional hospital board, called the plans for the centre “a very important regional piece of the healthcare system.”
“We are pretty excited we can help them move forward with this project,” she said.
The BC Ministry of Health has committed $400,000 for the four-bed centre to be located between Hilltop House and Squamish General Hospital. The Whistler Healthcare Foundation has also committed to $25,000. **
Vancouver Coastal Health pledged in January to cover the centre’s yearly operating costs of $566,000.
“We feel we are off to a good start,” said Fothergill, adding the society is currently focused on securing further corporate donations.
Seventy per cent of deaths happen in hospitals, even though 80 per cent of people want to die in their homes, according the Squamish Hospice Society.
It costs $1,000 to $1,200 per day to be treated in an acute care hospital while it costs $450 a day for care in a hospice, according to figures from the society.
Architects are currently working on early renderings of what the centre will look like, according to Fothergill.
“We then move into a final design process,” she said.
Construction could begin in a year with doors to the centre slated to open in 2019.
For more information go to http://www.squamishhospice.com/.
**Please note that this story has been corrected since it was first posted. The original story referenced a donation to the Hospice that has not been confirmed. That reference has been removed.