hospice services today

Don’t we already have a hospice house in Cowichan?

Not yet! And we will need your help to build one.

For over 35 years Cowichan Valley Hospice Society counsellors and trained volunteers have provided psycho-social care for people who are living with advancing illness, their families and for people in grief. This care is an important part of the integrated end of life care currently provided in our community, and includes the only specialized bereavement care available in the region.  Based at the Cowichan Hospice centre at 3122 Gibbins Road in Duncan, staff and trained volunteers have been providing a wide range of hospice services to 800 people per year, including emotional support and information, companioning through end of life and grief, and public education.

Cowichan Hospice staff and volunteers support people in many different settings across the community and have long recognized the need for a specialized hospice residence, to provide a safe, comfortable and appropriate setting for excellent end of life care.  Cowichan Hospice brought together community organizations and individuals interested in improving end of life care to develop the hospice facility that our community deserves.

That’s why the Cowichan Hospice House Task Force, led by Cowichan Hospice, is working to create a specialized hospice residence in the region – a 7 bed centre for living well at the end of life.

Cowichan Hospice services

Cowichan Hospice programs currently include:

  • One-to-one companioning for people living with advancing illness, their family members and for people grieving the death of someone they love
  • Bereavement support groups and individual support
  • A team of trained hospice companions in the hospital
  • Wellness care: reiki, therapeutic touch and other relaxing treatments
  • Community education on Advance Care Planning and other topics
  • A Resource library on end of life, care-giving and bereavement, including books for children
  • Hospice counsellors provide a psycho-social perspective to care through participation in palliative rounds in hospital and community; pain and symptom management team; home visits and other aspects of integrated hospice palliative care

Cowichan stories

So many people in the Cowichan region have been touched by Cowichan Hospice care. Read some of their stories below, and .

Iris & Bill

Iris and Bill

About one year prior to Bill’s death, I started to grieve. Bill was really impacted by my grief and we discussed my need for counselling support. Hospice connected me with an amazing grief counsellor, and this person became like a life raft. Bill was able then to process his own journey, without being as worried about me. With additional care from Dr. Masuda, we were able to talk freely about death and dying and move toward the journey of a long goodbye.

Rachel and Carson

Rachel and Carson

My connection to Cowichan Hospice started with my mom’s cancer diagnosis. During this scary, emotional time it was a gift to have a safe place to go for comfort and support. I was devastated when she died. Not only had I lost my Mom, but I was 5½ months pregnant with my first child. We had been so hopeful that she would meet my son, Olsen. Although I had a great deal of support from friends and family, it was such a relief to talk to the people at hospice who could genuinely empathize with what I was experiencing.

Terry and Dianne

My loving wife passed away 15 months ago. Several years before she passed we were encouraged to acquaint ourselves with hospice’s services. We immediately took advantage of the care clinic program. I am still involved in a number of hospice programs, the most valuable for me being the bereavement support group. I have learned that the experience of grieving is full of peaks and valleys. It is always changing and unpredictable. And it is both deeply universal and deeply personal.

End-of-life fast facts

6,000 – number of people who die from natural causes each year on Vancouver Island.

80% – percentage of respondents to Island Health island-wide survey who expressed a desire to die at home. Unfortunately, there are not enough home-based support services available to make that happen and very few hospice beds.

72% – percentage of Vancouver Island residents who actually end up dying in hospital and in local residential care facilities (27%), rather than at home.

3 – the number of designated end of life beds located in residential care facilities in the Cowichan region (in Ladysmith and Chemainus). These beds permit a basic level of care for people who do not need much symptom management.

2020 – the year Cowichan’s new Hospice House will open!

$7,000 to $8,000 – the costs that can be saved per patient, while also improving care if people receive hospice palliative care, rather than acute care in hospital.
SOURCE: Cost Effectiveness of Hospice Palliative care: A review of the Literature, Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, December 2012

Priceless – the increased comfort and dignity of receiving specialized care in a home-like and comfortable hospice setting, rather than in a 4 bed ward in the hospital

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Support hospice care now and for the future

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