Letter: End of life care shouldn’t cost

A stay in Hospice and the grieving families are billed $36.30 per day…a slap in the face

To the editor:

It took the Central Okanagan Hospice Society, (COHA) 25 years of dedication, hard work and dreams to advocate the building of a free-standing hospice, to finally see this become a reality.

Unbelievably in September 2008 the new Hospice House on Ethel Street was opened. This was preceded by an intensive fund-raising campaign, that joined KGH Foundation, B.C. Cancer Foundation Southern Interior and Central Okanagan Hospice Association under Campaign chairman Walter Gray, the former Mayor of Kelowna, to raise 3 million for the facility to be built, under the Holding Hands for Hospice slogan.

The time had been right for such an endeavour to succeed.

A 24 bed, single room facility, created in two separate pods of twelve each with it’s own family room that created an end-of-life, state of the art yet home-like atmosphere, that almost let’s one forget it’s purpose.

Staffed with an incredible team of nurses (both genders),that seemed to be hand-picked for this particular journey it’s patients are facing, one is tempted to call them angels without wings.

These are complemented by a myriad of Hospice volunteers, that make patients comfortable, and assist families and friends visiting.

Unfortunately, there is one fly in the ointment. Unlike all other provinces, in British Columbia, when a person sees their end of life in the hospital there are no costs involved. A stay in Hospice however and the grieving families are billed $36.30 per day, not an exorbitant amount to be sure, but at a time like this, a slap in the face.

After all this is such a minuscule amount in the provincial health care budget.

It would be my hope that the incoming government do away with this shameful practice.

Tony Badoir, Volunteer