The first community hospice on Vancouver’s West Side, St. John Hospice is a freestanding residence nestled in the wooded University of British Columbia campus. Welcoming people from all backgrounds, faiths, and income levels, the building includes 14 inpatient rooms, training and research facilities, and the necessary infrastructure support for caregivers.
St. John Hospice is very different from hospitals and long-term care facilities; it is designed to be a big home, not a small institution. For a short time at the end of life, the hospice will function as an extension of a dying person’s own home offering family-centred, multidisciplinary care emphasizing individual choice, identity, and dignity. Residents will be encouraged to bring belongings that personalize their rooms and increase comfort levels in their last few weeks.
End of life care is a specialized field, focused on providing individual dignity and making this last transition as calm, comfortable and meaningful as possible. Without the support they need to die comfortably in their homes, many Canadians are forced to spend their last days in long-term care facilities or hospitals. In fact, an estimated 75% of all people in palliative care in Canada spend their last days in these types of institutions.
No matter how good the care, these large institutions cannot provide the homelike environment and personal attention for the resident that a small, specialized facility can offer.
OPENING CEREMONY – September 6th, 2013
Education and training
What will make St. John Hospice unique is the role it will have in strengthening palliative care knowledge and practices throughout the province. Hospice staff, in conjunction with members of the UBC 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 better future care for others.