Hospice poised to get regular public funding

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The group that helps people die and grieve with dignity is poised to become a publicly funded operation.

Cowichan Valley Hospice is thanking the Cowichan Valley Regional District for a decision to recommend a regional service function be created to contribute to hospice care in the community.

The decision — which will allow a maximum tax requisition of $62,500 — has been ratified by all four area municipalities. Residents who are opposed to the move have an opportunity to send it to referendum through the alternate approval process.

Cowichan Valley Hospice president Mary Ann Deacon and executive director Gretchen Hartley were grateful for the move, instead of having to apply yearly for grants in aid.

Hospice offers services including one-to-one and group emotional support for people diagnosed with an advancing illness and their families, and others grieving the death of a loved one. It also offers advance health care planning education and information.

“In our community, we have among the highest proportions of aging people in B.C. who will need hospice services, and conversely, in coming years, the region will have a declining proportion of potential caregivers from within the working-age population,” stated Deacon and Hartley in a joint statement.

“Cowichan Valley Hospice is working with our community to develop the care that is needed now and into the future. Ongoing funding from the CVRD will provide a solid anchor for hospice services. It also sends a strong signal about our community’s commitment to the ongoing development of end-of-life and bereavement care.”

Hospice services are provided free of charge to more than 800 people a year because of community fundraising, personal and corporate donations and annual grants from gaming and the Cowichan United Way, according to Deacon and Hartley.

Currently, Island Health provides a small amount of funding.

“The most significant contribution to hospice care is the work of our volunteers, which, when calculated at a rate of $16.50 per hour, was worth $201,041 in 2013,” stated Deacon and Hartley.

CVRD regional service funding must be approved by all municipal councils and Electoral Area directors and through a public approval process.


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