Where new North Island hospice beds should really go

Not expecting much from a recent visit by two health officials, the Comox Valley Hospice Society was pleasantly surprised.

Not expecting much from a recent visit by two health officials, the Comox Valley Hospice Society was pleasantly surprised.

Delighted might be a more accurate description about how local hospice people reacted to an announcement that eight residential hospice beds and four tertiary care beds have been approved for the North Island.

While at the CVHS annual general meeting to update end-of-life (EOL) care in the Comox Valley, the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s (VIHA) director for home and community care and EOL care Lois Cosgrave and executive director of continuing health services Marguerite Rowe sprung the good news.

The euphoria and enthusiastic applause didn’t last long for local hospice society members working hard to provide EOL care at a Comox Valley facility designed specifically for that purpose.

While the beds have been approved, funding has not, cautioned Cosgrave.

Nothing government does happens without approved funding. The fact Cosgrave and Rowe said they heard about the approval of the beds just before the hospice AGM suggests a just-in-time delivery of a good-news announcement for maximum effect.

Cynical? Sure.

But that’s the reality of government announcements within a year of an election, especially one in which the governing party is hardly confident of victory.

Like so many other organizations, the Comox Valley Hospice Society must keep lobbying for funding — and for what it feels is a proper share of funded beds.

Cosgrave and Rowe couldn’t say how the beds would be apportioned on the North Island, suggesting four residential hospice beds each for the Comox Valley and Campbell River.

While it could create yet another unfortunate health scrap between the two communities, the Valley has a higher general population and a much higher ratio of elderly than Campbell River.

This is the basis for an excellent argument that more than half of the beds should be in the Comox Valley.

editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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