Support growing for palliative care facility on the West Shore

Dave Saunders says facilities ‘bursting at the seams’

When Dave Saunders examines the state of palliative care facilities in the West Shore, he sees a service that’s bursting at the seams.

He sees elderly being put on wait lists to get into the Priory, a residential care facility at 567 Goldstream Ave., and being unable to find end-of-life care in the communities in which they live.

It’s a heart-breaking sight for Saunders and one the well-known philanthropist is hoping to change in the near future.

Saunders is spearheading an initiative to bring a palliative care facility to residents in the western communities.

“The current facility just doesn’t fit the need. People want to have their end of life with dignity. They don’t want to move out of the area that they have family established in and they simply want to move on to the next stage with dignity,” Saunders said.

“We need it in the West Shore for the dignity of people that live here, but also for people that want to move here … If I have to shake the apple tree to make some apples fall, then so be it.”

It’s a project that began years ago when Saunders was serving as mayor of the City of Colwood. He was approached by an elderly couple who couldn’t get into the Priory and questioned why there weren’t more palliative care facilities on the West Shore. From there, he looked into the situation further and found current services were “bursting at the seams.”

RELATED: State-of-the-art care facility brings new hope to seniors

The Capital Regional District (CRD) has been aware of the general lack of palliative care services in the region for some time. A few years ago, the CRD looked to replace the Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie Hospital, which had both reached the end of their lives. However, after Oak Bay council rejected plans to replace the lodge with a new six-storey, $80-million building, the CRD decided to look elsewhere.

Saanich, Colwood and Langford expressed early interest, however, in the end, the former Blanshard Elementary School in Quadra Village was selected as the site for a 320-bed seniors’ facility. Known as the Summit, it is expected to be complete in 2019.

Over the years, Saunders said that decision has created a funnel affect – funnelling traffic and care into the southern most portion of the Island and creating more traffic congestion.

Now Saunders hopes to establish another facility, similar to the Priory, with roughly 140 beds for those who are incapacitated or nearing end of their life on the West Shore.

Recently, he has been gathering support from local politicians at all levels of government, various community groups, such as the West Shore Chamber of Commerce, the Langford Legion and local realtors, among others.

“I saw the need with the changing of the guard at the provincial level and the changing atmosphere at the CRD. I just saw an avenue to resurrect what I was trying to accomplish way back in the day,” he said, noting there are five potential locations where such a facility could go, but wouldn’t say where specifically.

“We just want to see this happen in the West Shore … What we’re envisioning is that this be a community initiative, so not one single person will be the lead on it. It started by an elderly couple who approached a politician way back in the day.”

In the coming months, Saunders hopes to develop a business plan and organize meetings with the province and local municipalities to garner support and potentially make it an election issue.

Tim Orr, director of residential services with Island Health, said more hospice beds are on the way. “Island Health is developing a plan to add more hospice beds in the South Island region including the West Shore over the next two years. We are aware of the need for more hospice beds in the western communities,” he said in a statement, noting there is one wait list for the region and people are assigned based on the priority of their health care needs. “Our work is in alignment with the Ministry of Health’s plan to double hospice beds by 2020.”

Residents who want to write letters of support to the cause can email Saunders directly at saund@telus.net.

kendra.wong@gold streamgazette.com

Colwood

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Langford rebrands, announces several projects

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

Rain Walk returns Saturday to raise funds for cancer support

Rain Walk group Team Teal indebted to Inspire Health

Wet’suwet’en supporters occupying legislature in Victoria hold mass day-long teach-in

Supporters opposing the pipeline enter day four at the B.C. legislature

Motion for Saanich to stand with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in pipeline debate postponed

One week delay provides more time to build community support, councillor says

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

UPDATE: Boy, 5, will donate organs after crash that killed father, son on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to new coronavirus fears

Around the world, about 81,000 people have become ill with the virus

Endangered butterfly species to be reintroduced to Hornby Island

Hornby Island is about to play a major role in the saving… Continue reading

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

Most Read