Key Events in the History of Sunshine Coast Hospice Society:
A Quick-reference Chronology
SEEDS GROW in the late 1980s: An exciting learning curve begins
A need for hospice on the Lower Sunshine Coast is identified.
A Sunshine Coast Hospice Steering Committee is formed. All but one of the six members is involved in health care. They thoroughly research palliative care, hospice care, and pain control on their own time and dime.
The Steering Committee places a March 28 advertisement in a local newspaper seeking hospice volunteers. Five women attend the first meeting.
Ten people become the first group of volunteers to receive training. Two hospice co-coordinators seek referrals, using their own phone numbers at first for contacts.
Sunshine Coast Hospice links with St. Mary’s Women’s Auxiliary to receive donations from grateful families.
With no funding, Hospice operates loosely under Home Support Services. This provides the coordinators with access to phones, photocopying, meeting space, and other administrative services. It also provides an avenue for Hospice to receive donations.
The hospice library begins, housed on the second floor of St. Mary’s (now Sechelt Hospital). Books, initially funded out-of-pocket by volunteers, are later purchased through donations.
ROOTS EXPAND in the 1990s: Community presence builds as a non-profit Society is born
The first Lights of Life begins, using two real trees.
Two multi-use patient rooms in St. Mary’s Hospital, where palliative care patients receive priority treatment, close as a result of cutbacks.
The Lighting the Memories ceremony begins at Snickett Park. It is the first such hospice-related event of its kind in B.C.
St. Mary’s Hospital closes its second floor, eliminating use of any previous beds on this floor for palliative care.
A Hospice Society Steering Committee is formed to investigate building a freestanding Hospice Home on the Coast. Pre-existing hospice activities and volunteers continue as a separate entity under a new coordinator.
Despite successful fundraising efforts and donation of land and house construction, the Society is unable to create a stand-alone hospice. The regional health authority will not provide the funds for round-the-clock care.
On Sept. 30, Sunshine Coast Hospice is incorporated as the non-profit Sunshine Coast Hospice Society (SCHS) with seven board members. This amalgamates two groups: volunteers offering direct palliative care service and the committee that worked towards building a stand-alone hospice.
HOSPICE BLOOMS in 2000 to 2010: the Coast’s first two dedicated beds open
Two hospice rooms — the first dedicated ones on the Lower Sunshine Coast — officially open on Oct. 3 at the Garden Inn in Gibsons in a partnership between the Sunshine Coast Community Health Council and Sunshine Coast Hospice Society. Vancouver Coastal Health Authority provides the health care. The Society uses some funds received for the self-standing hospice campaign to equip, furnish and open the two rooms.
The two hospice beds at the Garden Inn close at the end of March. Anyone who needs palliative care is placed in a respite room at Shorncliffe Intermediate Care Facility in Sechelt.
The Hospice Society opens two new hospice beds and an adjoining sitting room at Shorncliffe on Sept. 16. The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority covers the cost of medical care.
Volunteers and a visiting group of Canada World Youth participants create a hospice garden at Shorncliffe with new plants and shrubs.
SEEDS SPREAD in 2011 to the present: Hospice gains a permanent new home
Hospice House opens on March 31 at the former Kirkland Centre in Davis Bay, thanks to a generous donation by hospice co-founder Rosemary Hoare. For the first time, the Hospice Society gains a permanent home.
The Hospice Society creates a wheelchair-accessible concrete path in the Hospice garden at Shorncliffe, thanks to support from the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation.
The two hospice beds at Shorncliffe are operating at 100 per cent occupancy. Although 27 people use them between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013, seven clients cannot access them because of high demand.
In September, hospice rooms at Shorncliffe are newly refurbished, thanks to a generous grant of $3,500 received in 2014 from the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation.
Vancouver Coastal Health releases plans to close public care facilities such as Totem Lodge and Shorncliffe in the summer of 2018, which will leave the Lower Sunshine Coast without its two dedicated hospice beds. As a replacement, the health authority will construct Silverstone Care Centre, a new private residential care facility in Sechelt.
Vancouver Coastal Health says that SCHS and the local community will need to raise $2 million to create a hospice at Silverstone. However, since SCHS is a non-profit, it cannot be legally involved in a for-profit venture.
The SCHS holds meetings with Vancouver Coastal Health to discuss additional hospice beds on the Coast.
The B.C. Centre for Palliative Care gives SCHS $200,000 in January for the medical furnishing of the hospice rooms when they are built. This money will be held in trust by the Society for this purpose until a new facility is built.
By late July, Trellis Seniors Services announces that it will build the Silverstone facility in Gibsons, not Sechelt.
Negotiations between the Sunshine Coast Hospice Society and VCH regarding dedicated hospice beds are underway. The SCHS continues its commitment to maintaining and increasing the number of dedicated hospice beds on the Sunshine Coast.