Castlegar hospice director says COVID-19 measures make serving the dying heartbreaking

Social distancing brings big challenges to offering support

Social distancing requirements in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting every area of our lives, including the way we die.

The director of the Castlegar Hospice Society (CHS) says it is a very challenging time for those dealing with end of life issues.

“Our purpose for being here is working with our clients at end of life and providing support for our grief and bereavement clients,” said Suzanne Lehbauer.

“Our purpose is to be there for them. When you can’t be meeting face to face, it is heartbreaking.”

CHS is doing the best they can by utilizing phone calls, video conferencing, social media and doorstep drop off. But for many, that personal touch is sorely missed.

“Aside from COVID-19, there are people at end of life for other reasons,” said Lehbauer. “They have kind of been pushed to the side in terms of the way we are looking at the world right now.”

Lehbauer said there are a lot of people who are not able to have their families with them as they are going through the last stages of life.

“It breaks my heart, it is horrific,” said Lehbauer. “It is something we have never had to deal with before.”

RELATED: Visitation limits in place at all Interior Health sites

She says clients and staff are getting creative by visiting through windows and using baby monitors to have conversations as not everyone has access or the technology skills to utilize social media and video chat platforms.

Lehbauer says her incredible volunteer team is working hard to come up with even more innovative solutions.

In the near future CHS will be producing a series of Facebook posts on grief support during social distancing. They will be aimed at those going through the grieving process as well as supportive family and friends.

Meanwhile, new client referrals keep coming in. CHS is working with eight palliative clients and 30 grief support clients at the moment. The organization is also still providing help with advanced care plans.

The first step to access support from hospice is to give them a call at 250-304-1266 and staff will then set up an individual consultation to best meet the client’s needs.

The non-profit society has also had to cancel some major fundraising events leaving their budget $15,000 short.

“A lot of hospices and non-profits are in the same position we are,” said Lehbauer.

She says that this is the most stressful time she has gone through in her 13 years with hospice and that she is hearing the same from many of her colleagues.

“The stress is unbelievable for everyone in health care,” said Lehbauer.

“But we’re still here for you, and everyone on our team is doing their best to help people.”

Donations can be made to the Castlegar Hospice Society online at castlegarhospice.org.

READ MORE: Castlegar Hospice director recieves Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem award and grant



betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

City of Rossland delays decision on five-year waste disposal contract to company

Council decided not to award the contract to Alpine Group on June 1

First Energy Metals set to start gold exploration work in the West Kootenay

The work will be conducted at two of its sites near Nakusp and Nelson

Nelson skateboarders charged with assaulting Trail police officer

Incident happened at the skate park in Trail

Flooding: Why the RDCK ordered hundreds of properties evacuated

All evacuation orders have now been rescinded

City of Rossland introduces new fees for some permits and services

City adopted bylaw to introduce the fees on June 1

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Most Read