Written by Louise Scott (2016-2017 QDHPCA President)
As President, it is my pleasure to share with you, the following report which covers our past year of activities.
Looking back over the months, we finished the regular calendar year in December 2016, with our Celebrate a Life – Memorial Trees and Afternoon of Remembrance. This is an opportunity for loved ones to pause, write a memory in a card, place the care on a Christmas tree and light a light in that person’s memory.
The afternoon of Remembrance is another opportunity for individuals to sit with others and listen to poems, to memories & thought’s, light candles in memory of someone special, all being followed with a casual time to enjoy some refreshments. It is a very peaceful event & one I’d recommend attending.
We started this new year January 2017 off with the major move of our Grief Support/Volunteer Coordinator Karin Lynch’s office. After a lot of discussion and planning, the office was moved into the space known previously as the library or multi-purpose room – This is the area immediately off to your right as you walk into the hospice unit. From all the comments received, this has been a positive change, making it easier to find this office, if you’re new to the building.
Board members have dedicated themselves yearly, to participate in a day of strategic planning. This year, we were extremely happy to have the same facilitator we’ve had for the past couple of years – Christine Ungie. She led us through a day of discussion, which generated many ideas. Those, along with reviewing previous strategic planning outcomes, helped us to come up with a list of new goals and action plans.
To give you an idea of the some of what was generated for this year, I’ll list a few and their status:
- Education – invite Dr. Sear to come and speak to Doctors, nurses and other medical staff, as well as the public, regarding palliative care. Done
- Brochures/magnetic cards: have these delivered to each clinic and the ER. Done
- Advocacy: set up a meeting with our MLA, Mayor & CRD Reps. Still on our to-do list
- Newsletter…have this placed around town for public information. Still on our to-do list
- Toys - find a few items for the hospice so children visiting there have a way to spend their time while there. Done
- Needed items….Keep our eyes open for needed items – we could then use them as a purpose for fundraising. On going
- Donations – once a day, once a week or once a month – Have donations come from the donor’s account to ours automatically. Still working on this. I’m happy to say that we now have e-transfer set up so those wishing to Donate this convenient way.
- On Line Store – something like Facebook’s buy and sell - this would help us free up space in our storage area. Still on the to-do list
One of our first fund raising events for this year was the Hike for Hospice. This was held in May and the venue was changed from Labordias Park to Alex Fraser Park. We had support from the local 4H group who set up animal pens where children could pat, feed and ask questions about animals.
The walk route was to take a good stroll around the park and back to the meeting area. Many commented on how nice the venue was and how’d they like to do it again next year – some suggested to perhaps have more hike choices offered. For example, a walk up the pathway to Aroma foods and back, for those feeling fit enough to do that, and the other being the walk around the park perimeter.
One of our education/information events got its start in June…..Advance Care Planning. This is a subject that families need to sit down and talk about. The question is: Who is going to talk for you when you can’t? What are your wishes before and after death? Sounds scary but this program is a starting place for this discussion.
The first planning session was held at Clayton’s Funeral home in their very lovely visiting room…the second was held at Aveline Place’s gathering room, and another at the Anglican Church hall, and the last one at the Elks hall. I’m sure we will be hearing more about this program in the near future.
Another education/information event took place in October when we had Dr. Sear come to Quesnel. I know most of you will remember him as a family doctor here in Quesnel. We were very happy to have this very well-respected doctor come and share his knowledge & experiences regarding hospice/palliative care. He was here for two days and did 4 presentations – all of which were very well attended by doctors, nurses, home care personnel & the public.
Another education item is that we are supporting one local registered nurse by helping finance her attendance at a week-long course on Palliative Care being held in Victoria this month. Very happy to be able to do that.
After our Hike for Hospice, the idea of trying another raffle came to mind. The suggestion was to use the same types of prizes that we’d provide last year –– a travel voucher, cash & a set of luggage for first prize, with the 2nd place prize being similar but less in value, and the 3rd is a cash card. Sales started in June.
Then July came, and so did the fires!
We felt uncomfortable selling tickets as everyone was anxious to donate to, or help those affected by the evacuations. It was a very questionable situation for us but, after a lot of shared thoughts, we continued to be in locations with our table, poster, tickets and members ready to sell and answer any questions people might have. We decided not to push the sales but still be seen. We were pleasantly surprised at how much support we received.
Our big event - the Artisan Auction, always held in November was another that we had to reconsider having. We thought again that we needed to make some changes – too much had happened during the summer that left us thinking we should do as other organizations had done, --- postpone the event until the early new year. This would give our generous donors and businesses some time to recover from the affects of the fire season.
Because we had to make the draw for the winner of the raffle ticket public, (it stated on the ticket that it would be drawn at 10 pm on Nov. 18th) we decided to hold a fun evening on the night it was to be drawn. The Elks hall will be set up and welcoming to all who attended.
As for the postponement of the fall Auction gala, we decided February 3rd would be a time to try a theme of Valentines day with perhaps a dance to follow. Again this year, a committee headed up by our Executive Secretary Fund Raiser, Sherry Webster, will be working to bring this event together. The event will be at the Senior Center.
One thing that is very important to us all as board members, is to be accountable to the public & businesses who make donations, purchase tickets, or attend any of our fundraising events. We want them to know that all of the money raised here, stays here in Quesnel.
For example….last year, we purchased a very special mattress for the palliative care patients at GR Baker….it took weeks….months really, for that to arrive…The company felt so badly about the delay that they sent two!…the second one was not the top quality that the first was, but was still a very quality unit, and very much needed. We finally got them in January of this year and they are used regularly.
As I mentioned earlier, finding out what “needed items” are, is important to us. Recently, it was brought to our attention that there was a need at GR Baker’s palliative care unit, for comfortable recliner chairs.
We shopped locally – Willis Harper, and they stepped up and gave us the second one at no charge -- this added to their already great list of contributions to us. The good news is that these two chairs are being used regularly by palliative care patients and that’s the kind of support we fund-raise for.
Also, recently, there was a request for us to consider replacing the ice making machine at the Hospice unit – the one there just quit working! After a lot of discussion and approval, we were given permission to do this. So, again with great thanks to the Eastern Star ladies, The Dairy Queen and Tupperware, and all those who have supported their organizations & businesses, who in turn help us, we are now working on purchasing some kind of ice making unit and hope to have it installed soon.
We have been working with Northern Health over the last few months, on having a survey done on the Hospice Palliative Care services here in Quesnel. This survey is almost ready to be sent out to caregivers, medical personnel and others who have had personal contact with, or have used our programs. As an organization, it is difficult to get feed-back so it is our hope that this survey will provide us with information to bring about positive changes & improvements in all that we do.
The Quesnel & District Hospice Palliative Care Association would like to say thank you to the businesses who have shown their support through becoming sponsors, to the artisans who have donated their fine works, to the volunteers who have shared their time, and to all of those who attend our events and make donations.
Without this help & dedication, we would not be able to maintain the programs we offer like grief support and trained volunteer help at the hospice.
Louise Scott, President QDHPCA