For more than two decades, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice has been here with pediatric palliative care for children with life-threatening illnesses and the families who love them. Of the more than 715 children and families Canuck Place supported last year alone, more than 40 per cent were Fraser Valley residents – residents like the Cunninghams.
Two years ago, Dwayne and Angela Cunningham’s daughter Lumina was born with severe hydrocephalus, a genetic disorder affecting the development of her muscles, brain and eyes. Experiencing frequent seizures and requiring 24-hour care and a feeding tube, Lumina receives medical respite and symptom management with Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, where her family is also supported with care and counselling so they can focus on savouring their time together.
“Canuck Place is so wonderful,” said dad Dwayne. “They provide expert clinical care, love and support for families and children like our Lumina, who desperately need such assistance.”
Now, the Cunninghams are excited to receive Canuck Place care closer to home.
With the growing need, Canuck Place is expanding clinical care services
Several years ago, Canuck Place’s second provincial location, Dave Lede House, brought much-needed outpatient and community services to Abbotsford. This May, they’ll increase in-home clinical consultations to support families at times of fragility and at the end-of-life, and introduce inpatient care with medical beds. Initially offered during weekends, the goal is for four full-time beds by January 2019.
This expansion of care will have an immediate, direct impact on program families.
When a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, parents are impacted by the 24-hour care they provide for their child. The very real stresses incurred by these families include financial pressures, relationship challenges, fatigue, distress and increasing acute-care needs that impact mental and physical health and the overall quality of life for the whole family.
Access to more Canuck Place care, close to home, will further support families like the Cunninghams who reside in Surrey.
“With so many of our families living in the Fraser Valley, this is an opportunity for them to receive in-patient care closer to home, in their community, instead of having to commute to Vancouver, which can be quite difficult,” explains Shawn MacInnes from Canuck Place.
Donor support is critical
Offering a unique and holistic approach to clinical care, Canuck Place offers families access to medical respite care, pain and symptom management, art, music and recreation therapy, end-of-life care, as well as grief, loss, and bereavement counselling. At every stage in their journey, Canuck Place is there, all at no cost.
This expansion is only possible with the caring community of donors who support Canuck Place children and families. Because the children’s hospice raises 60 per cent of its annual operating costs, any increase in services requires donor support to implement and sustain.
“Our valued donors in the Fraser Valley help make Canuck Place care possible,” MacInnes says, commending the many generous donors for their longstanding support. “We’re so proud to partner with the community to reach more children and families where and when they need us – which is exactly what this expansion will achieve.”