Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors and Healthy Living, announced the funding on Wednesday last week in a news conference at Valhalla, the headquarters for hospice, attended by dignitaries and community leaders, including Regional District of Nanaimo board chair Joe Stanhope, Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek and Parksville Mayor Chris Burger.
Stilwell said the province is committed to “quality end-of-life care” and the new position, “will help patients and families more easily access and navigate hospice care in our community.”
When someone is about to enter palliative care, Stilwell said, family members ask: “What happens now?” The navigator, she said, will be available to answer questions and direct family members to resources. Lynn Wood, executive director of the hospice society, said the navigator “will enhance existing services… changing vulnerability to empowerment.”
The $40,000 is funding a year-long pilot project, she said.
Some of the money will be used for salary and some to develop a navigator “tool kit,” she said.
Other funding will also be used, including $5,000 from the Order of St. John Palliative Care Foundation and the B.C. Hospice Palliative Care Association, $2,500 from Island Health and smaller amounts from community groups.
The position and tool kit, she said, will be developed in conjunction with the Oceanside End-of-Life Care Working Group, which includes representatives from the Oceanside Hospice Society, Society of Organized Services, Salvation Army, and the Federation of Oceanside Residents’ Association, among others.
The position, she said, will be modelled on patient navigators working in the health system in other B.C. communities.
The pilot project should be underway next month.