Langley Hospice founding members Dorscie Paterson and Jeannine McCarthy had a front row seat Friday to the announcement of a $5 million new facility.
Paterson, who turned 104 in January, and McCarthy were there when hospice in Langley began officially in 1983.
Both applauded as plans were unveiled for a new purpose-built, 15 bed facility to be constructed near the Langley Memorial Hospital.
It will increase hospice beds available in Langley from 10 to 15, each of them spacious private rooms.
Langley Hospice president Bob Carpenter said each room will include patio doors to a courtyard or green space, there will be a kitchen facility for family members, a baryatric chamber and spa, a sanctuary, and on-site laundry facilities.
“Most of this doesn’t exist now in the current hospice,” Carpenter said.
CAPTION: A new 15-bed, free-standing hospice residence becoming a reality for Langley.
The Langley Hospice Society has already raised some funding towards the facility, including $2 million in pledged funds from Fraser Health that was included in today’s announcement.
The money announced today includes $3 million from the Investment in Housing Innovation Initiative, and $2 million from Fraser Health.
Part of Fraser Health’s contribution, $900,000, was allocated by the B.C. Centre for Palliative Care.
“All of us have had the experience of the loss of someone we love, and we want to give them the best at the end of their life,” said Langley MLA Mary Polak, reflecting on the death of her own mother in 1996.
Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman also spoke about the importance of hospice facilities to his friends and loved ones.
“We’re judged as a society by how we treat the most vulnerable,” he said.
Hospice volunteer Sue Westhaver spoke at the announcement about her first-hand knowledge of hospice’s effect.
When her husband Bob was dying, they chose hospice for his last few months.
“The nurses had his pain under control. We knew he was in good hands and well looked after,” said Westhaver.
“Going into hospice was the best thing that happened to us during that difficult time,” she said. “Being a caregiver isn’t an easy job, and having the opportunity to leave his medical and physical care to the nurses gave us quality time together in the last months of his life. That was truly a blessing and allowed us to bring our relationship back full circle.”
STORY CONTINUES BELOW
The new hospice facility is expected to break ground this summer. Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese reiterated the Township’s commitment to paying development fees for the project.
If all goes smoothly, the new Langley Hospice facility is expected to open in 2019.
The organization issued this statement in their spring newsletter shortly after the announcement was made:
“We are very excited to share great news! On Friday, March 10th, local MLAs, Rich Coleman and Mary Polak were joined by Michael Marchbank, President and CEO of Fraser Health, David Weir, BC Centre for Palliative Care, Mayor Jack Froese, Township of Langley, Robert Carpenter, LHS Board Vice President and Sue Westhaver, Caregiver and LHS Volunteer for a very special gathering.
The event was to announce that the B.C. Government will provide a five million dollar grant toward the capital costs of our new hospice residence.
The grant includes three million through the Investment in Housing Innovation Initiative and two million from Fraser Health.
This announcement positions us well to now proceed with the building permit process with the goal of breaking ground this summer or early fall.
Our sincerest gratitude goes to everyone who has helped us to achieve this great milestone. Many thanks to the BC Government, Fraser Health, the BC Centre for Palliative Care, the Township of Langley, our donors, volunteers and supporters. We still have much work to do and dollars to raise as we make our new hospice residence homelike for everyone who comes through our doors.”