Hospice Care

Hospice Care Alliance of British Columbia

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HCABC will include representatives from hospice organizations, government, health authorities, professional organizations, researchers, health care facilities, charities, and patient and family groups, to accelerate the improvement of hospice care in BC.

Issues facing British Columbians

The population of British Columbia is experiencing an important demographic shift; by 2036, one-quarter of the province’s residents will be aged 65 and over. Research indicates that older adults want to age and experience end-of-life at home and in their communities. However, the province’s healthcare and social systems are not currently equipped to adequately provide the necessary practical and psychosocial supports for ensuring that individuals living with serious illnesses can age and die in the place of their choosing.

Individuals Facing Serious Illness of End-of-life and Hospice Care in BC

– End-of-life experiences for individuals living with serious illnesses and their caregivers can be physically and emotionally painful, and often involve many difficult personal decisions about autonomy, care planning, and death. Addressing the psychosocial and practical dimensions of living with a serious illness, frailty, and/or grief is a central component to enhancing wellbeing and quality of life for individuals and their caregivers.

– The psychosocial needs of individuals living with serious illnesses and their caregivers can include supports for spiritual wellbeing, coping mechanisms, isolation and loneliness, grief, cultural sensitivities, and other emotional needs. Their practical needs may include housework, physical care, system navigation, informational needs, equipment retrieval and setup, financial and legal support, and respite care.

– Hospice Palliative Care (HPC) provides comfort and support to individuals, their families, and loved ones during a serious illness, in the last stages of life, or while coping with grief and loss. HPC services aim to help these individuals have the best quality of life possible by taking a person-centered approach to meeting their psychosocial and practical needs.

– There are currently over 70 community-based, not-for-profit hospice organizations across British Columbia. According to a 2019 survey conducted by the British Columbia Centre for Palliative Care, these hospices support over 10,000 individuals monthly as well as over 300 hospice beds across various care settings and facilities in the province.

– Hospice services encompass diverse psychosocial dimensions such as palliative support, vigil support, spiritual support, complementary therapies, assistance with activities of daily living, symptom management, day programming, grief support, caregiver support, and respite programming. The majority of hospices also deliver a variety of education sessions focused on enhancing the general public’s self-care skills and supporting their engagement with advance care planning.



The Canadian Virtual Hospice site has a large amount of resources. The following is a random sample.
10 Myths about Palliative Care
Guilt, Regret, Forgiveness, Reconciliation
Mindfulness: Making Moments Matter
Hope and Denial

Not feeling yourself during COVID-19? It could be grief

Physical distancing and dying: When you can’t be at the bedside

Grieving during COVID-19

How educators can support students coping with COVID-19-related grief

Supporting Children through serious illness and grieving during COVID-19

Videos: By: Maxxine Rattner MSW, RSW 
Kensington Hospice

Changing the definition of palliative care (1:08)
Acknowledging our suffering (0:46) 
The duality of acceptance and hope (0:47) 
Dying is hard (2:35)

Hospice Care in British Columbia:
The Path Forward


New Denver Hospice Society

Ana Bokstrom – Coordinator admin@newdenverhospice.ca
PO Box 217, New Denver, BC V0G 1S0
401 Galena Ave.
website: https://newdenverhospice.com

“The goal of the New Denver Hospice Society is to support the quality of living while in the process of dying and a healthy transition through grief for the bereaved.”

New Denver Hospice Society Mission Statement
New Denver Hospice Society supports quality of living while in the process of dying and supports a healthy transition through grief for the bereaved.

Our Purpose is to:

  • Select, train, and provide ongoing education and support to volunteers.
  • Provide a thorough assessment of client and family needs related to hospice care, including advance care planning.
  • Refer volunteers to clients and families seeking assistance.
  • Provide emotional and practical support to clients and their families during the final stages of illness through regular and extended visits by trained volunteers.
  • Provide bereavement follow-up.
  • Organize ongoing education about hospice/palliative care for voluntary and professional caregivers  as well as interested members of the community.
  • Cooperate and communicate among hospice societies in the area and maximize resources.
  • Recognize the value of and participate in the local, provincial and national hospice/palliative care communities. Memberships will be obtained in the CHPCA and the BCHPCA.
  • Raise awareness of services and resources and keep abreast of new developments.

The communities represented by the New Denver Hospice Society are Silverton, New Denver, Hills, and Rosebery.



Community Factors and Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Health Care Providers to Rural and Remote Areas

Introduction and Context
[Excerpts}The recruitment of health care providers to rural and remote communities in British Columbia (B.C.) and other rural jurisdictions is a persistent challenge. The importance of community participation in the recruitment and retention of health care providers has been demonstrated through “proof of concept” projects in rural communities across B.C. and elsewhere, and rea rmed through this scoping review. We anticipate that the evidence presented here will provide the platform for a robust provincial discussion and strategy.

Positive community characteristics that supported recruitment included the friendliness, adaptability, and cohesiveness of rural communities, as well as strong local leadership. Strategies included the intentional integration of the care provider into the local community; support for the provider’s family; assessment of local capacity for recruitment and retention; community ‘marketing’; the role of a local ‘recruitment coordinator’; community development activities; and incentives.

1. That the B.C. Ministry of Health, Health Authorities and other key stakeholders (UBCM) recognize the integrated nature of rural recruitment and retention to the viability of rural communities more generally.

2. In response to the need for health care professionals, rural communities be actively engaged in the recruitment and retention of health care providers.

3. As part of community discussions, local industry be included as key stakeholders as those with a vested interest in and potential support for local recruitment and retention efforts.

4. That the discrete recruitment and retention needs of rural Indigenous communities as articulated by the communities themselves be observed, particularly within the legacy of colonial health care and the need to ensure cultural safety and humility.

5. That the regional planning process be undertaken in a transparent way, with a clear rationale for resource allocation decisions.

6. That all collaborative (community-health system) recruitment and retention e orts be
evaluated for: (a) the e ectiveness of the approach; (b) the costs involved; (c) the sustainability of the candidate; and (d) lessons learned.

7. That communities that achieve their recruitment and retention goals through collaboratively designed and executed processes document their successes so they may be role models for other communities.



The BC Rural Health Network held its Annual General Meeting on September 3, at 4:00 pm.

Due to COVID – 19, the meeting was held by Zoom 
We would like to thank the Rural  Coordination Centre for providing us with this option.

The Network elected its second Board of Directors. They represent the broad spectrum of the rural and remote regions of our province. At a meeting held immediately after the AGM the following positions were unanimously determined:

  • President Edward Staples – Princeton
  • Vice-President Pegasis McGauley – Nelson
  • Secretary Peggy Skelton – East Shore Kootenay Lake
  • Treasurer Bill Day – Hedley/Vancouver
  • Director Colin Moss – New Denver
  • Director Johanna Trimble – Roberts Creek 
  • Director Janice Androsoff – Trail

Augmenting the Board will be:

  • Stuart Johnston liaison with the Rural Coordination Centre of B.C. – Oliver, and 
  • Jude Kornelsen liaison with the Centre for Rural Health Research at UBC – Salt Spring Island

President’s Report
BCRHN Annual General Meeting

Thursday, September 3, 4:00 – 5:00 pm 

As I look back over the past 16 months since our first AGM, I’m struck by the incredible progress of our organization . . . but also reminded of how much work we have yet to do. 

One of the most impressive developments is the growth of our membership. Beginning with six member organizations in December 2017, we now have 40 members, representing organizations and individuals across the province. Looking to the future, we hope to continue growing, adding members in areas of the province that are under-represented, namely in the north, on Vancouver Island, and in our Indigenous communities. 

Another important development has been the hiring of Connie Howe, our Administrator extraordinaire, made possible through funding from the Rural Coordination Centre of BC and the Academic Health Sciences Network. Up until January of this year, when Connie was hired, all the work of running our Network was being done by volunteers and it was becoming apparent that that arrangement was unsustainable. 

Research is a cornerstone of our Network and our partnership with the Centre for Rural Health Research at UBC has become very important for our organization. In collaboration with Dr. Jude Kornelsen and her team of research assistants, we have conducted several surveys aimed at gathering evidence to be used in making informed decisions. Recently, the CRHR completed a survey of our membership to determine their priority healthcare concerns. From the data drawn from 30 respondents, the Board has prioritized the following six areas that we’ll be focusing on in the coming months:

Rural Health Councils
One of the key recommendations coming out of the Rural Evidence Review conducted by the CRHR is the formation of citizen-patient-community led Rural Health Councils within the emerging infrastructure of BC’s Primary Care Networks

Community Health Centres
The BCRHN has been involved in consultations with the Ministry of Health since May 2018 aimed at developing Community Health Centre policy. Our members recognize the flexibility and responsiveness of the CHC model as a way to address the unique healthcare needs of their communities.

Virtual Support Pathways
COVID-19 has caused a precipitous switch to virtual care. Our membership recognizes the need to have this switch became a permanent approach to care.

Mental Health and Addictions
COVID-19 has magnified the problems associated with mental illness and substance use. And rural communities are not immune to these problems. In many cases, they suffer more than their urban counterparts due to insufficient access to services and the high level of stigma that exists.

Access to Specialist Care
Our members ranked this highest in their list of priorities with seniors and those unable to drive affected the most.

Transportation and Patient Transfer
Lack of access to transportation in rural and remote communities has been a problem for years. In one way or another it affects everyone living rural.

In other important research, the CRHR recently released its report on a survey to determine the Out-of-Pocket Costs for Rural Residents When Traveling for Health Care. The severity of the problem is now clearly evident and over the coming weeks the BC Rural Health Network will be working collaboratively with the CRHR to develop a campaign calling on the government to address this serious problem.

As our Network grows, so too does its need to have financial stability. The RCCbc is providing us with funding to the end of March 2021. This means we have seven months to find long term, sustainable funding that will keep our organization moving forward.

We have established two committees to work on this area, a Fund Raising Committee and a Charitable Status Committee. The Fund Raising Committee has developed a business plan that will be used when applying for grants and when approaching other funding sources. The second committee was formed because in order to apply for grants, we need to acquire charitable status with Revenue Canada. What we’ve learned is that there are many challenges and the process will likely not be completed before the money runs out. We are looking at all possible alternatives and we hope to have funding secured prior to March of next year.

One of our goals is to keep our membership engaged and informed. We endeavour to do this with our monthly newsletter, our website, and on social media sites, namely Facebook and Twitter. We have organized quarterly presentations open to our members on various topics of interest. We conduct surveys to gather information that help us make the right decisions on behalf of our members. And we also share information on research opportunities, conferences, and webinars organized by various provincial and national organizations.

In January 2019, the Rural Coordination Centre of BC organized a two-day retreat that brought together rural healthcare stakeholders from across the province, including the BC Rural Health Network. The retreat recognized six sectors involved in the delivery and improvement of rural healthcare services, namely Academic Institutions, Communities, Health Administrators, Health Professionals, Linked Sectors, and Policy Makers. Over the past several months, each of the sectors have formed groups to discuss healthcare issues and concerns aimed at improving access to services in rural and remote communities. The group representing the Community sector is the Rural Citizens Perspective Group, organized by the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council and the BC Rural Health Network. This group consists of 15 participants, with 5 from the First Nations community, 5 from the QC, and 5 from the BCRHN. We held our first meeting on July 28th where we discussed the four initial priorities guiding the work of all sectors; these are:
– Co-creating culturally safe and humble primary care;
– Designing, planning for and implementing Team-Based Care; 
– Increasing citizen and community involvement in health care
transformation processes; and
– Improving access and transitions for patients in rural and

remote communities 

The Group added mental health and addictions to the list, recognizing the importance of this issue for most rural and indigenous communities. It then agreed to first focus on  Co-creating culturally safe and humble primary care; and Improving access and transitions for patients in rural and remote communities.

The second meeting of the Rural Citizens Perspective Group is scheduled for September 29 where participants will do a deep dive into these two priorities.

Finally, I’d like to share with you what I think are some of the important challenges facing us in the future. At our first AGM I reported the need to discuss succession planning, recognizing that the vast majority of the volunteers that run rural health advocacy organizations are elders. Since that time, we’ve all gotten older and this challenge remains.

Although we have maintained and strengthened our relations with several provincial partners, the biggest challenge still remains the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. I think we can safely assume that Minister Dix and Minister Darcy know who we are, but we still have lots of work to do in reaching them in ways that result in improvements to rural health services.

And perhaps the biggest challenge that we face is in transitioning into an action driven organization. We’ve made great strides in getting ourselves organized and that is essential if we are to develop effective campaigns and programs. And we have made research and evidence-based decision making a cornerstone of our Network. But now, I feel the time has come to act. As Shannon McDonald, Chief Medical Officer of the First Nations Health Authority, recently stated, “Ok, enough talk, let’s move.”

So there you have it – that’s where we were, where we are, and where we’re going. It’s great to have you along for the ride.

Presentation by Jude Kornelsen

Kornelsen gave a summary of current projects which included:

  • An Investigation of Rural Citizen-Patient Priorities for Health Planning:Rural Community Responses to COVID-19 The survey link (http://bit.ly/RERCOVID-19) was distributed widely through rural community Facebook pages, local community media (newspapers and radio stations) and Chambers of Commerce, reaching 211 rural and remote communities across BC.

Presentation by Stuart Johnston

Johnston gave an overview of the Rural Coordination Centre of BC programs and services, with special emphasis on the Rural Site Visits.

Society of Rural Physicians – The Rural Road Map

The Advancing Rural Family Medicine: Canadian Collaborative Taskforce (Taskforce) is a joint initiative of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC). The goal of this joint initiative is to enhance equitable access to health care and improve patient outcomes in rural and remote communities in Canada.

The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) formed the Rural Road Map Implementation Committee (RRMIC) in February 2018 to support the implementation of the Rural Road Map for Action (RRM). The RRMIC provides a forum for members to report and deliberate on how to advance the RRM in ways that can be scaled and shared locally, provincially, and at a pan-Canadian level.

The RRMIC will support the dissemination of success stories and discuss strategic opportunities to influence the broader uptake of the RRM.

August 14, 2020

Since its inception in February 2018, the Rural Road Map Implementation Committee (RRMIC) has raised awareness across Canada about the need for improved access to health care close to home in rural areas. We released an update in summer 2019 and published an article in Canadian Family Physician on our progress. In March 2020 RRMIC also began  monitoring the impact COVID‐19 has had on our efforts.   

Read more in the updates here:
2020 RRMIC Stakeholder Communique Summer Update EN

Rural Innovations and Site Visits Website – RCCbc

Check out our new Rural Site Visits and Innovations web site! We are excited to launch this new site! It features an inventory of health care innovations collected by the Rural Site Visits project team during visits to your communities. These creative local health and wellness solutions include programs, models, initiatives and even ‘work arounds’.

By sharing these innovations and stories, we hope it will spark ideas that you can take back to your community. You can connect directly with the innovators to learn more about how they did it or how it helped their community. Also, you can connect with our Innovations Concierge, Tracey DeLeeuw to submit an innovation of your own or get help finding an innovation that would best suit your needs. 

Check out ruralinnovations.ca today!

Watch this video to learn more about ruralinnovations.ca