Letter to the Editor: The need for a hospice facility

Most stays in palliative care are fairly brief. Ours, however, started on June 24 and ended on July 17.

On the evening of July 17, 2013, our daughter Geneva age 33 finished her 28 month battle with breast cancer at the Cranbrook Regional Hospital. We wish to thank and acknowledge the doctors, nurses, and support staff for their excellent care that she received during this very trying time. Thank you for being so caring and thoughtful to our family’s needs.

Most stays in palliative care are fairly brief. Ours, however, started on June 24 and ended on July 17. During this time several things came to our attention which show the lack of foresight and planning on the part of the Cranbrook Regional Hospital, under the Interior Health Authority (I.H.A.).

To be fair, we acknowledge that everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they have in regards to palliative care. This being said, we feel that Cranbrook citizens, Cranbrook Regional Hospital and I.H.A. need to have their attention drawn to the following situations.

Cancer patients are valiant and strong but when coming for treatment they have to walk past the palliative care rooms. To them there is hope on one side and fear on the other, if their treatment fails. This is such a psychological downer at a time when they need to stay positive so that they can continue the fight for their life.

We also feel concerned for the parents and their children in the pediatric ward who are walking past the palliative rooms which are on the same floor. We have asked ourselves what must be going on in the parents and their child’s mind, and is this the best area to have these families walking? It must be difficult for the parents to explain who the people are in the palliative rooms.

Also, due to the shortage of long term care beds there were long term care patients parked nearby the nursing station both day and night, which we found taxed the work load of the care staff and didn’t allow them to be focused on palliative patients’ care. We found it puzzling that our seniors are overflowing onto the medical/palliative floor when to our knowledge there is room for either our seniors or our palliative patients on the fourth floor which is not being used to its full capacity.

There are always growing pains in conversion from a small hospital to one of regional status, and so many people are trying to do their best in a challenging situation. Volunteers, committee members of Hospice, and staff are working tirelessly to effect change to help the patients and family members who are dealing with so much in a time of such great sorrow and stress.

Cranbrook is an exceptional community when it comes to supporting people and causes. We need to get behind those in the trenches and let them know that they are not alone.

Many communities have a hospice house available to the palliative patient and the family members in achieving end stage life goals. This could be an option other than the hospital and gives a person a third choice if home or hospital care is not an option. There are many medical professionals just waiting to give assistance in this area and it is becoming a greater need in your community. Let’s get involved because you never know when you may be facing this journey.

With gratitude and thanks to all,

Terry and Linda Anderson