Hospice House vision

The Cowichan Hospice House project

A Hospice House is a centre where people can receive excellent pain and symptom management in a setting that provides an opportunity, as a family, to be present and involved in the care of your loved one.

Cowichan Hospice House:

  • Will support excellent medical care
  • Will have access to the outdoors, comfortable and home-like spaces
  • Will accommodate family members and pets
  • Will have places for children to play
  • Will support cultural and spiritual practices
  • Will be accessible and welcoming to all
What is hospice palliative care?

Hospice palliative care is whole person care for those living with advanced illness.

  • Manages pain and symptoms more effectively
  • Focuses on quality of life rather than cure
  • Based on a plan of care focused on the dying person’s own goals and priorities – which may evolve and change
  • It is care that holds the dying person in the centre, and includes those the dying person defines as family
  • It is collaborative care
  • Supports family/caregivers through bereavement
  • Offers the possibility of autonomy, dignity and joy at end of life

The Cowichan Hospice House Task Force and Island Health have agreed to work together to develop a dedicated hospice facility in our region, with the goal of having 7 beds in operation by 2020 (see project requirements and project timeline).

Under this agreement, our community will raise the capital costs to build the facility, and the health authority will cover ongoing operating and maintenance costs once built. This same model is used to build and run hospices throughout the Western world. In addition, studies show palliative hospice care can reduce the cost of end-of-life care.

Cowichan Hospice House project requirements
  • Hospice House must be co-located with an existing Island Health owned residential care facility, Cairnsmore Place is the recommended site.
  • Once built, Island Health will be responsible for the cost of staffing, operating and maintaining a 7-bed Hospice facility.
  • Hospice House must be operational by the year 2020 and must contain at least 7 beds. The Task Force aims to open a 7-bed facility in 2020 with capacity to increase to 10 to 12 beds to address future needs.
  • Our community must raise the funds to build and furnish Hospice House. A fundraising campaign will be launched later this fall to kick-start this effort. Find out how you can help.
Cowichan Hospice House project timeline


  • Announcement by the Island Health Authority of commitment to provide staff, operational and maintenance funding for a cluster of 7 hospice beds to serve residents within the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
  • The cluster must be co-located with an existing residential care facility.


  • Cowichan Valley Hospice House Task Force formed
  • Identify possible co-location sites for Hospice House
  • Cairnmore Place site selected
  • Completion of research of hospice care facilities in BC, Ontario and Europe to model a Cowichan facility based on existing centres of excellence


  • Development of concept design
  • Sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Island Health


  • Conduct feasibility study as to best placement of Hospice House on Cairnsmore Place property to utilize space, share infrastructure and provide adequate greenspace and privacy for residents and families, and to establish costs.
  • Prepare detailed design, budget.


  • Launch fundraising campaign to build a Hospice House for the Cowichan Valley
  • Begin construction of Hospice House at Cairnsmore Place


  • Open 7 bed facility with capacity to increase with population needs
A dedicated hospice can reduce end-of-life care costs

Hospitalizations account for the majority of end-of-life care costs in Canada and other countries.

It is estimated that, compared to usual acute hospital-based care, hospice palliative care may save the health care system approximately $7,000 to $8,000 per patient, and provides better care at the end of life.

Studies show hospice palliative care can significantly reduce:

  • Hospital admissions
  • Length of hospital stays
  • Intensive care unit/ emergency room/acute care utilization
  • Inappropriate diagnostics or interventions

The Cowichan Hospice House Task Force

In June 2015, Our Cowichan Community Health Network recommended the formation of a community based task force to work in collaboration with Island Health to develop a hospice facility.

Led by the Cowichan Valley Hospice Society, the Cowichan Hospice House Task Force was formed in September 2015. Our mandate is to establish a dedicated hospice facility to serve the Cowichan region by offering those at the end of life excellent pain and symptom management in a setting that helps people focus on what is most important to them.

Task Force Members include representatives from the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the Cowichan Valley Division of Family Practice, Our Cowichan Community Health Network, Cowichan Tribes, health-care auxiliaries, service clubs, and community members from across the region.

Our vision

Excellent hospice palliative care for everyone, every time, everywhere in the Cowichan Valley.

Our mission

To build our community a centralized hospice palliative care facility to provide care that will:

  • Enhance quality of life.
  • Provide relief from pain and other distressing symptoms.
  • Affirm dying as part of the normal process of living.
  • Integrate the physical, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of a person’s care.
  • Support families and their communities during the person’s illness and in bereavement.
  • Help people live as actively as possible until death.
Our guiding principles
  1. Autonomy – Care is guided by quality of life as defined by each person.
  2. Dignity – Relationships with clients and families are based on dignity and integrity.
  3. Person-centred care – In all our work we respect client values, beliefs and practices.
  4. High quality – All activities adhere to standards of practice and professional conduct.
  5. Team-based approach – Hospice staff and volunteers work as part of a circle of care that can include family members, medical professionals, home care workers, volunteers, pharmacists, social workers and others as required.
  6. Safety and effectiveness – Care is safe, confidential, and without discrimination or prejudice.
  7. Accessibility – All clients have equal access to care where and when they need it.
  8. Adequate resources – Resources are sufficient to support the activities of the program.
  9. Evidence-informed and knowledge-based care – Ongoing education is integral to providing quality care
  10. Community collaboration – Community stakeholders will be consulted and involved in a collaborative manner in issues relating to the ongoing use of the hospice palliative care facility, as well as to address issues, develop programs and services and advocate for excellence in end of life and bereavement care.

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