Delta Hospice board is destroying the organization

Editor:

Re: Dix out of touch with the community of Delta, letter to the editor, March 14

article continues below

It is very frustrating to continue to read misinformation about Delta Hospice Society (DHS). Barrie McDonald, I don’t know where you got your information, but you are incorrect on many matters.

Firstly, the provincial government contributed significantly to the realization and development of the Irene Thomas Hospice. In fact, the Province provided $1 million towards the construction of this facility and is recognized on the donor recognition wall at the society offices.

McDonald stated, “The only mistake Macey made was getting in bed with Fraser Health to rent the land for one dollar a year.” (Nancy) Macey not only signed a lease for the land owned by Fraser Health but also signed a service agreement which has provided millions of dollars (over 90 per cent of the operating budget) over the past 10 years to operate the Irene Thomas Hospice. These services would not exist if it was not for money provided by the provincial government through Fraser Health.

His comment, “Such a vengeance to virtually eliminate its founding hospice charter which virtually and visibly states to provide end of life care and support to those in need,” is untrue. Anyone who has read the DHS constitution will know the purpose of the society is “to provide compassionate care and support for persons in the last stages of living” and “to utilize and coordinate community services, professionals…. to care for the needs of the patient.”

Most people interpret these purposes as honouring an individual’s choice as they face the end of life. Nowhere in the Delta Hospice Society’s constitution or bylaws does it state that the society provides hospice and palliative care but does say that DHS provides education about the same.

Another statement of McDonald’s is, “The government has no legal authority to take it over.” As in any formal business relationship, legal contracts specifically set out the parameters when these contracts are terminated. The lease states the buildings become the property of the landlord if the service agreement is terminated. Obviously Fraser Health, the landlord, has the right to take over the Irene Thomas Hospice.

No one will ever know how many people connected to Irene Thomas Hospice have been impacted by the society’s denial to allow MAiD (medical assistance in dying). For some, they were denied the right to be cared for at the Irene Thomas Hospice due to the position of Delta Hospice Society. Some people discussed MAiD with hospice staff and were told it is not available at that location. For others, they started the MAiD application process, but passed away during the waiting period. And then there are those who, unfortunately, had to leave the facility in order to have their end of life wishes honoured.

There are additional services that Delta Hospice Society provides to those facing end of life or are bereaved. In order to save these much needed services, it is critical the current board of directors is removed. This current board is destroying the organization by terminating long-term staff and volunteers, using donated funds to fight the provincial government, damaging the public image of the society and more.

Change at DHS cannot come fast enough in order to ensure the citizens of Delta have access to these services in the future.

Sharon Farrish

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