Fraser Health says it is reaching out to key stakeholders to determine what services will be offered at the Harold and Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care.
The health authority took possession of the facility and the adjacent Irene Thomas Hospice on March 29 after ending the service agreement and lease with the Delta Hospice Society due to the DHS board’s refusal to allow medical assistance in dying (MAiD) at the hospice.
The hospice was reopened to patients on April 15 once needed upgrades and repairs to the building were completed, but the fate of the Centre for Supportive Care remained up in air.
According to a now deleted portion of the Delta Hospice Society’s website, the Centre for Supportive Care provided a co-ordinated source of information, referral, education and support to enhance care to individuals and family in the community, as well as patients and families of the Irene Thomas Hospice. Information, support services, counselling and equipment loans were provided free of charge.
In a press release issued Friday morning (Oct. 1), Fraser Health said it is now planning to “reach out and engage directly” with key community stakeholders, including patient advisors, families, the City of Delta, Indigenous stakeholders and others on the range of health and community services” that will be offered at the centre.
“These conversations will help us determine what the needs of the community are and what services would benefit the community of Delta, such as grief and bereavement support, seniors programs on healthy aging and caregiver supports,” the press release states.
“We are grateful for the ongoing support of the Delta community, including the City of Delta, as we work toward providing important health and community services at the Harold and Veronica Savage for Supportive Care.”
In a letter to Fraser Health president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee dated May 11, 2021, Delta Mayor George Harvie reiterated the city’s interest in exploring options to acquire a head lease for the Centre for Supportive Care.
In his letter, Harvie said the city’s intention would be to sublet the building to the Heron Hospice Society of Delta, a new organization formed by a core group of former Delta Hospice Society directors who opposed the board’s anti-MAiD position and sued the society after the board blocked hundreds of membership applications over the prospective members’ support for allowing MAiD at the hospice, among other complaints.
Harvie said the arrangement would “continue the long history of community-involved support for the provision of comprehensive end of life services at the hospice.”
“As you know, the construction and operation of the hospice and supportive care centre relied heavily on significant donations from the local community and community support, inclusion and volunteer involvement. It is very important that this relationship be maintained, regardless of whether Delta is provided a head lease for the Harold & Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care,” Harvie wrote.
“Both the Irene Hospice building and the administrative building should continue to support end of life services for Delta residents, consistent with the intent of the many who contributed and supported their formation and operation.”
Harvie’s letter confirmed the city’s interested in leasing the facility, first expressed in a letter to Lee and Fraser Health board chair Jim Sinclair dated Feb. 1.
In a press release issued Feb. 6, Fraser Health said it would consider “in the near future” how the Harold and Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care “supports the broader community,” including discussing with the City of Delta its proposal to take over the centre’s lease.
No further updates had been issued before Friday morning’s press release.