Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)

Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

The pandemic has been hard on everyone. But for those facing death and dealing with bereavement, COVID-19 has taken a heart-wrenching toll.

The staggering effect of the pandemic on the health care system tops the headlines every day. But Victoria Hospice physicians, nurses and counsellors are reporting on the lesser-known effects on people facing end of life, their loved ones, and bereaved people.

“The massive impact of COVID-19 on the health-care system includes palliative care,” said Victoria Hospice CEO Kevin Harter. “Hospice and palliative care teams everywhere are being called upon to meet unprecedented challenges.”

ALSO READ: Hospice provides compassion in a time of COVID

Isolation triggered by the pandemic comes at such a poignant time in the lives of patients and families.

“Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors are meeting a tsunami of grief right at our front door,” said director of psychosocial services Marney Thompson.

“We know grief has been painfully magnified by the pandemic. Suffering is amplified by people’s extraordinary experiences of illness and death – and sometimes a lonely death. Even well-resourced people who might otherwise be able to navigate grief with informal support from friends and family are now seeking professional bereavement support and counselling.”

Visitor restrictions, so important for everyone’s safety, can seem at odds with what palliative and hospice care are all about.

“Palliative care isn’t only about managing symptoms and making people physically comfortable. It’s about closeness and humanity. It’s about helping families through the hardest days of their lives,” said Victoria Hospice medical director Dr. Amy Tan. “Masks and face shields and goggles and PPE seem to separate us. Physical distancing keeps us apart. Barriers seem to spring up just when patients and families need to be closer than ever.”

With half its funding provided by donations, Victoria Hospice is calling on supporters to help the organization write a new chapter of resilience in its Frontline of Compassion appeal.

“Our supportive community has been absolutely essential to our services for more than 40 years,” said Harter. “In these difficult times, their help is more important than ever.”

ALSO READ: Greater Victoria mother’s grief fuels documentary of ‘Turning Hope into Action’

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided compassionate end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people on the clinical unit and at home. Over the next 20 years, the number of those 75 and older is expected to more than double in Greater Victoria.

“While we’re working hard to meet the present need, we’re closely monitoring these trends and looking to ways we can address the demand for palliative care in the future,” said Harter. “We’re so grateful to our donors for walking alongside us every step of the way.”

To learn more about how you can support end-of-life care in our community visit www.victoriahospice.org.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
School parking problems plague Oak Bay residents

Need exceeds official requirements for parking at St. Michaels school

In January 2019, Grade 5 students from Glenlyon Norfolk School, accompanied by Grade 11 student Anastasia Castro, gave a presentation to Oak Bay council seeking a ban on plastic bags in the district. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay set to survey businesses on single-use plastic products

Survey gathers information ahead of expected legislation on provincial, federal level

Brian Korzenowski rides with Athena, left, and Venus who are safely strapped in and goggled up with the wind in their fur. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to Sooke Road commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Camper the dog was found Wednesday night by someone walking their own dog along Hollywood Crescent. She had gone missing after a violent attack on June 11. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Camper the dog found safe after fleeing violent van attack in Victoria

Camper was found on Hollywood Crescent Wednesday night

A lift on marine border restrictions by next summer would bring an economic gain to Greater Victoria through the cruise industry. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich calls for opening of marine borders by summer 2022

Council to ask feds to end restrictions in time to allow planning for next cruise ship season

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver lawyer, has been suspended from practice for two months after admitting that his firm mismanaged $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (Acumen Law)
High-profile B.C. lawyer suspended over $44K in mismanaged client trust funds

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko admits to failing to supervise his staff and find, report the shortage

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

Most Read