In a news release on Saturday aftermoon, the health region explained why it's pausing a plan to move hospice beds to the nearby Mountain View Manor care home.
"Though it is unfortunate the Delta Hospice Society is unwilling to agree to a seamless transition to continue to provide hospice services, they have agreed to vacate the Irene Thomas Hospice. After termination of the lease, Fraser Health expects to gain possession of the Hospice buildings, and we are planning accordingly. For this reason, as we intend to continue providing hospice beds at the Irene Thomas Hospice upon gaining possession of the buildings, we will pause on our plan to open hospice beds at Mountain View Manor," the statement reads.
In February 2020, the health authority provided 365 days' notice to end the service agreement with the society without cause.
The current board has refused to offer patients the legal procedure medical assistance in dying (MAiD).
The board had reversed a decision by the previous board to allow it, putting it at odds with the province and the the Fraser Health Authority (FHA), which mandated that publicly-funded hospices that don’t have religious affiliations provide it to those who request the procedure.
The health region last month announced that under the terms of agreement with the society, on Feb. 25, 2021, it would serve 30 days' notice, a provision contained in its contract with the society, for the DHS to vacate the 10-bed Irene Thomas Hospice premises.
Fraser Health last month also announced that beginning Feb. 25, it will open five hospice beds at Mountain View Manor.
Those beds will increase to the full complement of 10 by mid-April 2021.
Transfers to the Irene Thomas Hospice were to be temporarily paused and any person seeking hospice care until Feb. 24 would be admitted to another hospice.
The FHA's latest statement notes that on Jan. 19, 2021, the society asked Fraser Health to begin transferring the clinical operations of the Irene Thomas Hospice so that transfers of existing patients to an alternative facility would not be necessary and care at the location would not be disrupted.
Then on Jan. 26, according to the health region, it presented a formal letter to the society setting out the arrangements proposed by Fraser Health for an early termination of the service agreement and lease to allow the transition of services to Fraser Health, including patients and staff.
On Feb. 2, the society responded.
"Regrettably, they were unwilling to agree to the terms we presented to ensure a safe and orderly transition and to continue to provide hospice services onsite," the FHA stated.
"In the absence of agreement by the Delta Hospice Society, we must put our patients first and provide them with the option to transfer now to a facility of their choice, or remain at the Irene Thomas Hospice until closer to February 24 and then transfer to another facility," the FHA states.
The region also notes it will consider how the Harold and Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care supports the broader community.
"The City of Delta has reached out to us with a proposal regarding the Centre and we look forward to engaging in a discussion with them about possible options related to the future of this facility," the statement adds.