HEALTH Minister Adrian Dix, Jim Sinclair, Chair, Fraser Health board of directors, and Dr. Victoria Lee, President and CEO of Fraser Health, in a statement regarding Delta Hospice Society (DHS) on Friday said: “It is important for people at the end of their lives to have peace, comfort and choice related to their own health. We are committed to providing a public health system that includes a full range of health-care options for people in our communities, including those in hospice settings.
“In February 2020, Fraser Health provided the required 365 days’ notice to end the service agreement with the Delta Hospice Society without cause.
“On May 29, we released a statement about ending the contract with the society. We must support access to hospice, as these services are fundamental to people in B.C. We continue to have strong support for our decision, which was not taken lightly. Moving forward, our commitment to hospice will help strengthen our health system and bring us together as a community.
“Throughout this process, our goal has been to maintain consistency of services for the individuals and families receiving care at the Irene Thomas Hospice and for the community of Delta. Our preference has always been to keep hospice beds at the Irene Thomas Hospice. On two occasions, Fraser Health proposed to the Society that Fraser Health be permitted to take over hospice operations, to ensure hospice services can continue at that location using existing staff. However, on both occasions, the society was unreceptive to this proposal.
“The hospice is regulated under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act (CCALA) and is required to act in accordance with that act. The CCALA requires licensees to operate community care facilities in a manner that will promote the health, safety and dignity and rights of persons in care, make the rights of persons in care known to residents and their families, and to ensure residents’ choices are respected and supported (Sec 2 (a); Sec 7(1)(b)(i)(ii)).
“It is our job to ensure that Delta residents continue to have access to hospice services upon the termination of the contract with DHS. We continue to be committed to this and are working to make it happen.
“Our priority is to ensure patients in the Delta community have access to the health-care services they need, including hospice care. To that end, our transition plan includes opening 10 hospice beds at Mountain View Manor to support patients who would have previously accessed these services at Irene Thomas Hospice. Residents currently residing at Irene Thomas Hospice will continue to stay at the facility and receive the care they need.
“Fraser Health is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure the people of Delta will be able to return to receiving end of life care at the Irene Thomas Hospice. Under the terms of agreement with the Delta Hospice Society, on February 25, 2021, Fraser Health will serve 30 days’ notice (contained in Fraser Health’s contract with the society) for them to vacate the premises.”
Delta Mayor George V. Harvie said: “Hospice care in Delta is an issue that has deeply impacted our community, particularly over the past year. I am pleased Fraser Health has committed to ensuring this important service remains available to all those who need it in our community.”
* Last year, the Delta Hospice Society gave Fraser Health formal notice that it would not allow the provision of medical assistance in dying at the Irene Thomas Hospice.
* In February 2020, Fraser Health provided the required 365 days’ notice to end the service agreement with the Society without cause.
* Public funding of $1.5 million provided annually to the society for hospice services will come to an end on Feb. 25, 2021.
* Beginning February 25, Fraser Health will open five hospice beds at Mountain View Manor, a Fraser Health owned and operated long-term care facility located on the Delta Hospital campus of care.
* These beds will increase to the full complement of 10 by mid-April 2021.
* Hospice patients in Delta will also have access to additional capacity available in neighbouring communities.
* To reduce any disruption for patients through this transition period, transfers to the Irene Thomas Hospice have been temporarily paused.
* Any person seeking hospice care between January 11 and February 24, 2021 will be admitted to another hospice.
* For the duration of the notice period, patients currently at the hospice will continue to receive hospice care services with no interruptions in care.
* Fraser Health is working with the appropriate unions to ensure all unionized hospice staff who received layoff notices from the society will have employment opportunities within Fraser Health should they want them.
* In order to maintain long-term care capacity in Delta, Fraser Health is also expanding long-term care services by acquiring 59 additional long-term care beds at Good Samaritan Delta View, a long-term care facility in Delta.