Staff at the Delta Hospice Societys Irene Thomas facility in Ladner.
Nick Procaylo / PNG
The society that operates Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner has reversed a decision to allow Medical Assistance in Dying at its facility.The move comes five days after a change in the balance of power at the Delta Hospice Societys board of directors, and just two weeks after the previous board voted in favour of Medical Assistance in Dying.In a letter provided to staff, volunteers and members dated Dec. 2, new board president Angelina Ireland stated the board had repealed a decision by the previous board to allow MAiD at its Irene Thomas Hospice.This is a controversial decision by the society, which in early 2018 rebelled against Fraser Healths mandate to provide medical assistance in dying at non-denominational facilities that it funded, instead opting to transfer patients who wanted to receive MAiD to another facility.Hospices are places where individuals go to receive palliative care for pain and symptom management of their life-limiting illnesses. The goal is to offer physical comfort and emotional support at the end of life when dying is a normal process.The new Delta Hospice board argues MAiD goes against the societys constitution.According to Canada Revenue Agency data, the Delta Hospice Society received $1.6 million from Fraser Health to provide 10 beds for people who are dying average stays are usually two weeks. The societys total annual revenue last financial year was $3.4 million, of which $2.3 million was spent on compensation. The society had six full-time permanent staff, with the highest earner making between $120,000 and $160,000 a year.According to the CRA, the board comprised of president Jim Levin, vice-president Bob De Ridder, treasurer Karen Gillespie, Christine Sutherland, Doug Mather, Charles Girard, Beverly McCarter, Chris Pettypiece, Melissa Granum and Angelina Ireland.Ireland, Granum and Pettypiece didnt get voted out at last weeks well-attended AGM, but the rest are gone. Ireland, who was a candidate for the Peoples Party of Canada in the October federal election (securing 948 votes) is now the president. Granum and Pettypiece had voted in favour of MAiD.According to a Postmedia News report from February, 2018, faith-based health facilities have been exempted from obligatory MAiD provision but there is a more ambiguous situation with non-denominational settings like the Ladner hospice.In December, 2018, Fraser Health mandated that hospices could not transfer a patient to another facility so that they could receive MAiD.The societys website still states that it allows MAiD.Fraser Health was unable to respond by deadline.with files from Pamela Fayerman Related