For the first time in more than 30 years, the Shuswap Hospice Society is expanding its services by way of programs and support systems for residents who have life-impacting diagnosis.
“Thanks to a $40,000 grant from the Ministry of Health, Interior Health, and BC Centre for Palliative Care we are able to provide new programs that have long been needed in the Shuswap,” said Shuswap Hospice executive director Cookie Langenfeld.
“One of the new programs we’re offering is the Hospice Palliative Day Program. This program is an eight-week session designed to help people live well with life-changing diagnosis such as cancer, ALS, COPD, or brain tumors.”
As well, the centre, in partnership with the BC Hospice Palliative Care Association, allocated a $10,000 seed grant to the Shuswap Hospice Society to support patients and families.
Examples of seed grant projects include workshops educating the public about advance care planning; recruiting and training volunteers to link patients with serious illness and families to the available local services; and public awareness campaigns about palliative care supports.
Langenfeld says the day program is designed to help people navigate the medical system.
“We’re going to help you with those questions like ‘what’s next?, who do I contact?, who do I talk to?’ We want to make it less terrifying.”
The day program includes a wide variety of emotional supports.
“It’s all about mind, soul, and body connection,” says Langenfeld. “There’s a long list of activities including: breathing techniques, yoga, art/music therapy, life stories/life review, and crafts and games.”
And all these services are completely free.
Langenfeld says Shuswap Hospice Society is excited to provide these new programs and to become the community’s Hospice Palliative Care Resource Centre.
“We’re here to enhance quality of life,” says Langenfeld, “and thanks to this grant we can offer a safe, comfortable, and welcoming space for patients and their families.
Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo supports the funding.
“Entering life’s final stages can be a difficult and confusing time for families and patients alike. The funding provided to the Shuswap Hospice Society will go towards educational services to help give families peace of mind during their loved one’s stay in palliative care,” he said.