LETTER: Residents must become active to ensure hospice doesn’t close

Christine Morrison Hospice cannot be sacrificed for FHA budget problems

Abbotsford’s marvelous new hospice facility, Holmberg House, will open sometime in the next year.

The Abbotsford community must be congratulated for the huge support it has given to make this a reality.

Unfortunately, there are now strong hints that the Fraser Health Authority will close Mission’s Christine Morrison hospice in the Mission Memorial Hospital once the Abbotsford facility opens.

The Christine Morrison Hospice is widely recognized for its welcoming and supportive atmosphere thanks to the many volunteers who work tirelessly to help families through a very difficult time.

I believe Fraser Health may try to rationalize that because a large percentage of those in care here are from Abbotsford, our facility will not be required once Holmberg House is up and running.

The fact that people from elsewhere come into our hospice to be near family may not matter to Fraser Health. Abbotsford is currently the only city in the Fraser Valley without a hospice. Once Holmberg House opens we cannot allow Fraser Health to make Mission the only city without a hospice. The Christine Morrison Hospice cannot be sacrificed for their budget problems.

I know from experience that MLAs alone do not have the power to reverse Fraser Health decisions. They can help, but as with the previous aborted attempt to close our emergency ward at night, it takes the community and the city council behind the MLAs to make a difference.

Let’s hope I am being paranoid and Fraser Health will not even consider closing Christine Morrison Hospice. Unless Fraser Health will now definitively state that the Christine Morrison Hospice will not be closed, we should not trust them. We will need to become active to save this very needed and highly valued service along with the excellent volunteer crew that serve us so well.

Randy Hawes