She knew that constant, long term care of a palliative patient is extremely emotional and physically exhausting for the home caregiver and that help was needed to give caregivers respite. It was also obvious that families needed a support system during the grieving period.
Edna decided that she wanted to become involved in helping not just patients through the final journey of life, but also their families. In 1980 she went to see both the Director of Nursing of Maple Ridge Hospital and the Supervisor of Home Care Nursing in Maple Ridge. She shared with them her background and training and explained that she wanted to do volunteer work for terminally ill patients. As a result of this meeting, dying patients were referred to her by doctors, nursing staff and home care workers. That was the beginning of “hospice” in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Preliminary work was done during the fall months and the Palliative Care Program started at Maple Ridge Hospital in December 1987. The Hospice Volunteers who had been working in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows for the previous seven years as part of the Caritas Hospice Society became the volunteer component of the newly incorporated Maple Ridge Hospice Society.
In 1993, Edna, 74 years of age, retired after spearheading the hospice movement in Maple Ridge for which she was awarded a Maple Ridge Hospital award that commended her work with dying patients and their families.
The Society has grown from the early days when Edna worked from her home. There is a volunteer board of directors, made up of people from all walks of life. There are eleven paid staff members and over 120 volunteers involved in board activities, visiting, grief support, general assistance, and the thrift store.
With the Fraser Health Authority as a partner, The McKenney Creek Hospice Residence adjacent to the Ridge Meadows Hospital, opened on October 17, 2006.
We are part of the Hospice/Palliative Care Team of the Fraser Health Authority.