The new hospice room at the Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital features amenities like a new television set with a list of channels dependant on the client’s preference.

Ribbon cutting for new hospice room in Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital

The Clearwater and District Hospice Society (CDHS) held the ribbon cutting for its hospice room in the Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital this week.

The room, which officially opened on Nov. 4, comes after years of planning and fundraising and will give hospice clients a comfortable and private place to stay while in the hospital.

“The room was a long time coming and Clearwater hospice members are proud to say Interior Health and hospice have finally come together to make this happen,” said Eileen Sedgwick, president of CDHS.

“Each time the room is used we’ll be seeking input into anything that will help those using it.”

Hospice is generally used for respite or for people in palliative care and the new room will offer a more home-like environment for those in need. The room also has living room furniture and a kitchenette, allowing loved ones to stay in the suite if needed.

There’s still a bit of work needed to finish the room, which involves a small amount of maintenance, but the suite has already been in use and CDHS has been taking suggestions from clients on small improvements.

The hospice suite was largely funded by CDHS’s annual Lights to Remember campaign, which goes into its eighth year on Nov. 12.

Lights to Remember raises money by offering members of the public little cards they can buy in memory of loved ones, and are then hung on a decorated Christmas Tree in the lobby of the Clearwater Lodge, where Sedgwick said people like to sit and appreciate their meaning.

The cards can be bought at Buy-Low between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. for $10 until Nov. 23, and are purchased in memory of anyone the buyer would like to memorialize, including family members, victims of tragedy or even beloved pets.

“After Nov. 23 people are more than welcome to go to the lobby at Clearwater Lodge and sit in peace and enjoy the tree,” said Sedgwick.

After the final touches are put on the hospice suite, money raised by the group will go to buying any other equipment Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital might need to help with palliative care as well as training for hospice members.

Because the CDHS is a group that has its members sit with patients in the hospital to keep them comfortable and in good company, there’s a requirement for new members to have a certain degree of training, and those already in the group often have to take refresher courses.

“Hospice work is very rewarding and we are looking for new members; our meetings are on the third Monday of every month at 10 a.m.,” said Sedgwick, for those interested in joining.

Another way to help support CDHS this month is by subscribing, or renewing a subscription, to the Clearwater Times, as a portion of these proceeds will also go to the group.

Sedgwick added hospice would also like to acknowledge the following groups for helping fund the new hospice room:

Clearwater Curiosity Shoppe, Interior Health, North Thompson Hospice Society, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 259, Slocan, Sovereign Order of St. John, Wells Gray Community Forest, Interior Savings Credit Union, and community donations.

“We want to emphasize how grateful we are the hospital now has a room and that it’s really rewarding these people don’t die alone,” said Sedgwick.

“(It’s important) that someone’s with them when it happens — it’s a hard task to do all the time.”

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