Ground was broken May 24 for the St. John Hospice, a facility on UBC’s Vancouver campus that will provide end-of-life care for individuals, and help improve palliative care through research and education.
The $4.5 million, two-storey wood frame building will have 15 fully-furnished bedrooms with en suites for residents. The hospice, immediately across from the UBC Botanical Garden and Thunderbird Stadium, will also provide communal living and dining space, a family room, a garden courtyard and a quiet room for residents and their families. It is scheduled for completion in fall 2013.
The Order of St. John Palliative Care Foundation raised approximately $4.5 million for the project, including $3.5 million in private donations from individuals and $1 million from the Province of British Columbia. UBC provided the land for this project and supported the planning process. Vancouver Coastal Health will provide annual operational funding of approximately $1.6 million and manage the site upon building completion.
“The foundation is delighted to see the project underway so that we can meet the demand and serve those in need of palliative care,” said John Norton, chair of the Order of St. John Palliative Care Foundation, which is committed to promote, advocate and provide hospice palliative care to those in need throughout B.C. “St. John Hospice will welcome people from all backgrounds, faiths and income levels.”
Hospice staff, in conjunction with the Faculty of Medicine, will unobtrusively collect general data that will be used to develop innovative, multidisciplinary palliative care practices. With better understanding and training of caregivers, more British Columbians will be able to experience loving, quality care in their final days.
This hospice will also be positioned to help train future nurses and doctors about the special treatment and needs of those in palliative care. While participation is entirely in the control of the resident, the experience in other countries is that most hospice residents are pleased to be involved in palliative research that will help improve future care for others.
“The St. John Hospice will soon become an integral part of the UBC campus on Point Grey, not only because of the essential end-of-life services it will provide for families, but also because of the role it will play in education and research for the faculty of medicine and other UBC health programs,” said Stephen Owen, UBC’s vice president of external, legal and community relations.
“I want to thank the Order of St. John Palliative Care Foundation for all their work in bringing this hospice to our community,” Premier Christy Clark said. “Our government is pleased to contribute to this facility and help create a place where people and their families can receive compassionate care.”
“It is important to have hospice care facilities that provide both the physical and emotional care that individuals and families require during times of need,” said Colin Hansen, MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena. ”St. John Hospice will directly address this demand, providing critical care, services and supports for individuals in our community approaching their final stages of life.”
“St. John Hospice will establish a much-needed palliative care facility on Vancouver’s west side,” said Mary Ackenhusen, chief operating officer of Vancouver Coastal Health. “This building will connect residents with a life-threatening illness with the highest level of quality care for symptoms management in a home-like setting, supporting them during these difficult times.”