Hospice: Never alone at the end

Volunteers make end of life more comforting for Sooke clients

Sooke Hospice is there to care for the dying.

Sooke Hospice is there to care for the dying.

For years the dream of the Sooke Hospice Society was to have their own free-standing hospice. Then three years ago the estate of John Oliver gave the society a real home.

With the acquisition of the spacious house on Goodmere Road in Sooke, the society can now expand their work. What they do is aid and comfort people in the most sensitive time of their lives  by providing palliative care for the dying.

It is not a subject many people are comfortable with, but it is a fact of life and those who volunteer provide an invaluable service to the client as well as the family.

“It’s such a difficult time of life,” said Pat Brooks, president of the Sooke Hospice Society. “You are in a whole different space in your life and the volunteers support people where they’re at and treat them with dignity.”

Volunteers go to the client’s home or the hospital and will be with them for the last years/months/weeks/days, so they are not alone. Each case is different and the volunteer may read to the client, help with basic body mechanics, provide simple massage or just sit and listen.

“Listening is a big part of the training,” said Brooks. “They don’t give advice or tell them what to do, they learn to ask questions.”

The hospice volunteers are just one part of the team dealing with each client. There is usually a family doctor and care service workers helping coordinate the client care. Counselling is provided to family members as well as the client.

It’s a much-needed and appreciated service and the society is seeking new volunteers who may want to help people in this way.  The time spent by volunteers with someone in the last stages of their life is dependent on what time they can afford. Brooks said it can be two hours a week  or an hour three times a week or even more.

“It depends on how much need there is and how much time a volunteer has – but you have to be committed.”

She said they will not leave people alone.

“It’s so individualized. Hospice isn’t a place you go to, it’s a philosophy. It’s helping people. It’s very unique, it really is. What you get out of this is really remarkable.”

Brooks notes that hospice volunteers are not nurses, they do not deal with any medical issues.

“We have people who have been through a loss, ex-nurses, care aides and kind people,” she said of the types of volunteers they get.

“Most end of life is very peaceful – the doctor’s goal is to keep them comfortable. The doctors are trained too.”

Many people at the end of their lives, said Brooks, want to be at home with their cat or dog, the old grandfather clock, the things that are familiar to them and the focus of hospice is to keep them at home.

“We try to satisfy everything that we can if they want to be in their own home, but sometimes it is not medically possible.”

Hospice does supply some medical equipment.

Sooke Hospice is supported in part by a grant from the gaming commission, various grants from VIHA, service clubs and generous donations. They hold three fundraisers a year: Celebrate a Life at Christmas, Plant a Memory in the spring and a craft and bake sale at the house. They also receive funds from Buffy’s poker night and the Friday night meat draws.

Now that the society has the house on Goodmere, they would to be able to provide respite care for care givers and possibly a place for someone from out of town.

Sooke Hospice cares for approximately 10-15 clients per month and they call for volunteers once a year.

“It’s not doom and gloom,” said Brooks. “It’s about being respectful of where they’re at – it’s about acceptance.”

For those who may be interested there is no cost to join and about 30 hours of training is provided – mostly in the evenings.

“You have to be committed and you may not know if you can do it until you come out and find out about it.”

For more information, call 250-642-4345.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Nexii roof panel is lifted during construction of a Starbucks in Abbotsford. Alexzi Building Solutions will be building a manufacturing plant in Langford or North Cowichan to produce the sustainable construction panels. (Photo courtesy of Alexzi Building Solutions)
Langford eyed for facility to make green building alternative to concrete

Langford, North Cowichan possible sites for plant to create sustainable construction panels

Local MP Elizabeth May says the public has a right to know the identity of the company that plans to operate the massive warehouse proposed for Sidney on airport lands but residents who want to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts. (Black Press Media File)
MP Elizabeth May says public has right to know identity of Sidney warehouse operator

Residents wanting to stop the project would probably have to go through the courts, said May

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Most Read