Mission hospice not closing

The Fraser Health Authority has no plans to close Mission's Christine Morrison Hospice (CMH) or eliminate any beds.

"Fraser Health has a comprehensive long term plan for end of life care throughout all our communities and Christine Morrison Hospice in Mission is an important part of the care continuum provided to support and comfort patients from Abbotsford, Mission and surrounding communities," said Carolyn Tayler, director of end of life care for Fraser Health.

Speculation that Mission's hospice was in jeopardy was raised by former Abbotsford-Mission MLA Randy Hawes in a letter to the editor, which was published first on this newspaper's website on May 23, 2014. In the letter, he said there are "hints" that CMH would close after Holmberg House Hospice (HHH), a new hospice in Abbotsford, is up and running.

"Fraser Health is continually reviewing its services to meet the needs of communities, which is why the Holmberg House in Abbotsford is currently being developed and expected to open in 2016," said Tayler.

The new facility will offer Abbotsford residents hospice services closer to home.

There are 10 beds at CMH and there will be 10 beds at HHH. According to statistics from the health authority, CMH had an occupancy rate of 83 per cent in 2013. About 49 per cent of the clients were from Abbotsford and 34 per cent were from Mission. The rest of the patients were from surrounding communities.

"All hospices in Fraser Health take patients from surrounding communities," Tayler explained. "We support patients to be admitted to a hospice of their choice and patients are admitted to adjacent hospices if the one they have requested is full."

The province plans to double the number of hospice beds across the province by 2020, and Fraser Health will assess the situation again after HHH is complete.

"As the population ages and the number of people needing end of life car increases, we expect the demand to also increase," said Tayler.

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