I have long complained about the inaction concerning construction of a hospice in the Valley. In the 17 years since it was announced in 2000, it hasn’t provided any care, just the opportunity for teas, luncheons and self-congratulatory feel-good stories for and about the Valley Regional Hospital Foundation.
I have learned I was wrong in saying it has been 17 years of inaction. The hospice project actually dates back 21 years!
A newspaper clipping from The Chronicle Herald of September 8, 2000 written by Valley Bureau chief Gordon Delany says, “The VON Kings Hospice Foundation has raised $150,000 so far toward a 10-bed in-patient hospice … Palliative care workers identified the need several years ago said Sid Davies, past chairman of the foundation.”
The article says that a 1997 survey found people in the community supported the concept and that the hospice foundation was formed in 1999 “to raise the $700,000 needed to cover the costs of building the hospice. Organizers feel the hospice can be operated for approximately one-third the cost of acute-care hospital beds.”
Since not all patients require everyday hospice care, the foundation felt it could treat as many as 30-50 patients.
At the time of the article James Perkin was appointed foundation chairman, with Dr. Deborah Day as vice-chairwoman. Dr. Jeanette Auger was in charge of fund-raising.
By 2009 the projected cost of the hospice had risen to $4 million. Later, Valley residents were led to believe the cost for the hospice had doubled to $8 million. No one has ever explained the two-decade delay in building the hospice.
This raises three questions:
- How much has been spent on fundraising/fundraisers?
- How many patients have been cheated of the care a hospice would have provided?
- Is no one ashamed by their inaction?