The quality of care at the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner is not a concern.
That’s according to Fraser Health president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee who wrote a letter to Mayor George Harvie responding to concerns he had raised to the health authority, asking for an inspection and audit of the facility.
Lee noted Fraser Health’ licensing and palliative clinical staff have been visiting the hospice regularly to review the services in follow-up to concerns that have been raised.
“Investigations to date have confirmed that the quality of care provided to the residents continues to be upheld by the dedicated staff working at the hospice, and no concerns regarding the care have been identified. While we have not audited the Delta Hospice Society's finances, we have no indication that funding is not being utilized as per the Service Agreement,” Lee explained.
Harvie had also asked the provincial government to undertake a financial audit of the hospice and is waiting for a response.
In his letter to Finance Minister Carol James, Harvie noted there’s serious questions raised about the management of the society under its president, Angelina Ireland, including the appointment of new directors outside the organization, membership denials to local residents and restricted access to society records.
“Delta Hospice is very much a community asset – staffed with local volunteers and funded largely by private donations from people who are upset that these funds are now being used to exclude people who do not subscribe to a particular set of values, and in a way that is not consistent with provincial policies around access to MAiD,” Harvie wrote.
“We want to be assured that provisions are in place to ensure that the Society assets remain with the facility for the benefit of the community, notwithstanding the termination of provincial funding and the potential removal of the Society,” he stated.
Former board member Chris Pettypiece recently told the Delta Optimist that a mid-August date has been set in the DHS board’s appeal of his petition to the B.C. Supreme Court which successfully halted a planned meeting by the board to have the society’s constitution amended to become Christian-based.
That June meeting, which would have been followed by a mail-in ballot of registered members, asked to change the constitution to include several statements including “To function as a Christian community that furthers biblical principles governed by the Triune God.”
It was the latest move by the current board which is opposed to providing the legal procedure medical assistance in dying (MAiD) at the hospice, having reversed a decision by the previous board to allow it.
Fraser Health has mandated that non-faith based hospices offer MAiD to those who ask for it, putting Delta Hospice on a collision course with the health authority and the province, which announced earlier this year the society would lose its funding by next February.