Friday, November 14, 2008



NANAIMO – Health Services Minister George Abbott and Nanaimo-Parksville MLA Ron Cantelon were joined by representatives from the Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation and the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District to celebrate the enhancement of mid-Island palliative care at the opening of the newly renovated Nanaimo Regional General Hospital palliative care unit.

“This thoughtful redesign and renovation of the palliative care unit allows dying patients to spend time with their loved ones in more calming and peaceful surroundings,” said Abbott. “With our aging population in British Columbia, we recognize the need for high quality end-of-life care services as a critical part of health-care delivery.”

Funded by the Ministry of Health Services through VIHA, the hospital foundation and the regional hospital district, the $2.8-million renovation to the existing 12-bed palliative care unit used best practice standards in environmental design for palliative care, making use of paints, flooring and fabrics to create a more home-like feel. With the addition of special recliner chairs, family members will be able to spend the night close to their dying loved ones.

“People have told us they would like to spend their last days in the comfort of their own homes,” said Cantelon. “When that isn’t possible, the renovations made to the palliative care unit will help create a more home-like feel.”

The hospital foundation raised $1.7 million of the funds needed to complete the renovations in addition to raising $225,000 for equipment. VIHA and the ministry contributed over $1 million and the regional hospital district contributed an addition $120,000.

“We would like to thank the funders of this project for their continued support, and especially to the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation and the residents of Central Island who donated generously to this very worthy cause,” said VIHA board chair Jac Kreut. “The approach to palliative care is to improve quality of life for patients and their families, as they face a life-limiting illness.”

By 2030, about one in four British Columbians will be over 65.

“The need for palliative care services continues to grow,” said Maeve O’Byrne, hospital foundation president. “We would like to thank the many loyal donors, staff and volunteers who made this new unit possible. These renovations have created an environment that truly speaks to the needs of palliative patients and their loved ones. We are proud to have played a significant role in moving this project forward.”

The palliative care unit was moved to its current ground floor location in 2005, at which time the hospital’s six palliative beds were expanded to 12. Staff and volunteers soon realized more could be done to provide accommodating surroundings for dying patients and their families, so renovation planning began.

“What was once a clinical-like setting has become a beautiful and calming space for patients and their families,” said Dr. Robin Love, medical director for the palliative care unit. “The warm colours, use of wood and home-like furnishings have dramatically softened the environment.”

Renovation work began in fall 2007 with work completed in September 2008.

“The regional hospital district is pleased to provide funding for these welcome renovations that will improve the palliative care experience for our citizens and their families and loved ones,” said Joe Stanhope, Regional District of Nanaimo chair.

For more information on end of life care, visit this LINK.


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