While it is not very high profile, the Cranbrook Kimberley Hospice Society has been at work in both communities.
In December of 2015, the Society had 19 Cranbrook clients and 15 Kimberley clients. Throughout the year, volunteers gave 4,000 hours of service to families and individuals dealing an imminent death.
There are 14 volunteers and three board members who are Kimberley residents.
The Hospice Society is primarily funded by the Harley Davidson Raffle every fall and grants and donations. Funding is tight. There is only one paid position, a coordinator, who in 2015 was paid less than $10 per hour.
In Kimberley, Hospice works at The Pines, Garden View and homes in the community.
Demand for services continues to grow, and in addition, Hospice provides follow up support for the bereaved.
Twelve Kimberley students are taking park in the Rainbow program at Lindsay Park School this year. This program, a 13-week peer group, is designed for children who have experience a traumatic change, such as the death of a parent or grandparent, even a pet. It is running for the first time in Kimberley this year and Hospice hopes to expand it into McKim School.
Hospice has produced a booklet, “End of Life’s Journey” to assist families after a death. The Society is part of a group to develop a plan for trialling up to five Palliative Care Day Hospice sites within IHA. They have been invited to make a presentation to IHA and to be part of an End of Life IHA strategic planning working Group. They are developing a Strategic Plan for End of Life to meet the mandate from the Provincial Government to increase Hospice spaces by 2020. Hospice also is represented in the IHA Hospice Partnerships Working Group to develop collaboration between IHA and all independent hospices. Finally Hospice have been asked to participate in NCARE (Navigating, Connecting, Accessing, Resourcing, Engaging). NCARE is a UBC-0 research project designed to implement and evaluate the use of volunteer/health care provider navigation partnerships to improve the care and quality of life for older adults living at home with advanced chronic illness.
Bob Gilchrist of the Hospice Society provided all this information to Council last week, while presenting two Kimberley residents, Nick Valeriote and Diane Klekowski, with certificates of training completion.
At the time, Council inquired about a palliative room, which Kimberley used to have.
“We had hospice in Kimberley and then we lost it. There was a palliative room at The Pines, but it was taken over by Interior Health and now it’s gone,” Gilchrist said.
Coun. Albert Hoglund suggested the City write a letter to East Kootenay MLA Bill Bennett and the Health Minister.
“We were told we would have a palliative care unit,” he said.
“There is a huge discrepancy in hospice funding throughout Interior Health,” Gilchrist said.
Mayor Don McCormick had kind words for the work of the Cranbrook Kimberley Hospice Society.
“It’s an organization that hasn’t had a lot of visibility but pound for pound, dollar for dollar, I don’t know that there is another organization that gets as much done.”