FVRD asked to partner in new children’s hospice

Canucks Place asks the FVRD board to consider becoming a partner in raising $13 million for an additional hospice in Abbotsford.

Nearly half the 428 children who have received ‘end of life’ care at the Canucks Place Hospice in Vancouver come from the Fraser Valley, a hospice official told the Fraser Valley Regional Board last week.

Filomena Nalewajek, Canucks Place executive director, asked the FVRD board directors to consider becoming a partner in raising $13 million for an additional hospice in Abbotsford.

She said the new 10-bed hospice would be located next to the Abbotsford General Hospital, on land donated by the city, and with the regional Cancer Centre located there, would form a “campus of care” for children.

“If these children weren’t coming to us, they’d be in hospitals,” she said.

Forty-one per cent of the children die from cancer, many within weeks of admission, she said.

Hospice officials were “alarmed” when they realized they were meeting only about 25 per cent of the demand for children’s palliative care in the province.

“It was a bit alarming, and we knew we had to do something,” Nalewajek said, and the decision was made to look for a second hospice site.

“We’re calling on you to be a partner,” she told the FVRD board. “What we need is your help. We can only do what we do with the help of the communities.”

Most of the funding for the hospice comes from community fundraising, she said, and about 80 per cent of donations go directly to the cost of care, which averages about $1,484 per bed per day.

The Canucks Place hospice opened in 1995 to provide specialized pediatric palliative care to children living with life-threatening illness.

It’s hoped the new hospice in Abbotsford will open in late 2013 or early 2014.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

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