Christa Fox, chair of the Cowichan Hospice House Task Force, was delighted to move the thermometer closer to the $10 million target. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Cowichan District Hospital Foundation donates $2 million for Hospice House

“What they have contributed to this Hospice House is absolutely amazing.”

Cowichan Hospice House has made a giant leap forward in its goal of raising $10 million to build a hospice centre to serve the Cowichan Valley.

Christa Fox, chair of the Cowichan Hospice House Task Force, and other members of the Cowichan Hospice team, accepted a cheque for $1 million from the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation this week, bringing the total amount of money raised to $8.5 million.

“I’m part of a 15-person task force and there isn’t anyone who has done this alone,” Fox said.

“And a community member like the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation, what they have contributed to this Hospice House is absolutely amazing.”

The Hospital Foundation has now donated $1.5 million toward the new facility that Hospice hopes to open in 2020. In April of this year, the Foundation pledged $1 million and then in the fall it challenged the community to raise up to $500,000 and they would match the amount dollar-for-dollar.

Last week, the Community Matching Campaign goal was met and the Foundation announced it would donate $500,000, bringing the total to $2 million.

Speaking to a small group gathered at the law offices of Hospital Foundation president Alison Taylor, Fox said Hospice was excited by what the Foundation had offered.

“When they came and said, ‘yes, we’ll give you a million dollars’ we were so, so excited and grateful.

“What you did was to bring the community awareness of what this actually means for all of us and that we are in collaboration with the new hospital,” Fox said.

The Cowichan region has been without a defined hospice centre, the only community of its size on Vancouver Island without a residential hospice program, meaning the Cowichan District Hospital has taken on the care of palliative patients.

The Cowichan Hospice House, to be built next to Cairnsmore Place in Duncan, will accommodate seven patients when it opens, with capacity for three additional patients.

Cowichan Hospice House says many people are cared for at home at the end of their lives but sometimes there is no one available around the clock, or care may become too complex to be managed by family members.

The facility will provide a more appropriate and cost-effective option for those who cannot be cared for but don’t need acute care in the hospital.

Island Health plans to provide a 24-hour registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse days and evenings and a registered care aid at night.

Cowichan Hospice will provide a part-time counsellor and supervisor and a team of 45 volunteers.

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