Shovels are expected in the ground by August, as work on the Hospice House begins with the expected completion in August 2020.

The Cowichan Hospice Society is behind the new facility and the building will be a stand-alone facility connected to Cairnsmore Place.

Gretchen Hartley, the Executive Director of the Society said the ideal scenario doesn’t always play out the way families want.

“I think most people would like to live to the end of their days right at home but, unfortunately, that’s not always possible,” said Hartley. “Sometimes, there aren’t people there to care 24/7, sometimes the care becomes more complex and needs a higher level of care and sometimes families just start to exhaust themselves in providing that hands-on medical care.”

Hartley continues, “Sadly, often what happens is people spend their final days in the hospital.”

She said Hospice House will provide patients with the dignity they deserve at the end of their lives.

“A television on the other side of a curtain in a four-bed ward, where someone is watching a baseball game and chatting with their buddies because they’re in for a broken leg and will probably be out in a day or so, while you’re sitting quietly with your family while someone is dying, you’re sitting with the curtains draped over your shoulders and, in some cases, there aren’t even two chairs for family members.”

Community outreach has been fantastic and the hospice society’s funding goal of ten million dollars is about $800,000 away from the target.

Hartley said funding has mostly come from locals with significant donations of more than five million dollars coming from the regional health district (5.2 million), the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation pledged a million dollars, the local healthcare auxiliaries donated six hundred thousand dollars.

There will be 10 beds and most often, people using the hospice house will be in the last two weeks of life.