Crowd cheers as North Island hospice and tertiary care beds announced

Eight residential hospice beds and four tertiary care beds have been approved for the North Island.

Eight residential hospice beds and four tertiary care beds have been approved for the North Island.

The announcement came at the Comox Valley Hospice Society’s annual general meeting Thursday evening. The Vancouver Island Health Authority’s (VIHA) director for home and community care and end-of-life (EOL) care Lois Cosgrave and executive director of continuing health services Marguerite Rowe made the announcement while giving an update on EOL care in the Comox Valley.

“I can announce tonight that we received, just in the nick of time, approval for our end-of-life bed plan, and that bed plan does call for eight hospice beds and four tertiary beds for the North Island,” Cosgrave said as the room broke out in a round of applause.

“Now of course, you know, we’re still in the early stages. The beds have been approved but the funding still needs to be sourced for sure and that’s a piece that we will continue to work on within the health authority.”

They couldn’t say exactly how the beds would be divided on the North Island but suggested four residential hospice beds for the Comox Valley and four for Campbell River.

When the Hospice Society’s executive director Terri Odeneal pointed out the Valley has a much higher ratio of elderly than Campbell River, Cosgrave and Rowe said the numbers are certainly not final and Comox Valley could see more of the beds.

During the question and answer period some speakers voiced concerns about when these beds would become reality.

Cosgrave and Rowe couldn’t give a date, but assured the group progress has been made and the plan is moving forward.

“All I can say is that Marguerite and I are very, very serious about moving this plan forward, and we will advocate for that as strongly as we can,” said Cosgrave. “I believe that we have made significant process in the last few months, in the last year, and I do believe that there is recognition that these beds are important.”

See Wednesday’s Comox Valley Record for more.