Site selected for free-standing Langley hospice facility

Facility with potential to house 15 beds will be located at 52 Avenue and 219A Street, near Langley Memorial Hospital

The Langley Hospice Society has officially announced the location for its new free-standing residence.

Fraser Health has offered a site at 52 Avenue and 219A Street for the construction of a 15-bed facility to provide palliative care to patients in Langley — something the society has been working toward for 30 years.

The Fraser Health property is located just down the hill from Langley Memorial Hospital, and backs onto residential lots with a significant easement area.

The current interim hospice facility has 10 beds, most which are in shared rooms, and has a 92 per cent occupancy rate, communications and funds development manager Shannon Todd Booth told Township Council during a delegation on Monday night.

Because of that, the hospice has been forced to turn away Langley families who then have to find care in neighbouring communities.

Todd Booth cited one recent example of an Aldergrove family who had to commute to Mission to see their mother/grandmother in her final days.

Despite what most people think, hospice care is not just for seniors, Todd Booth said.

The average age of a patient in the Langley residence, which is for adults only, is 47 years old.

The new facility will open with 10 beds in private rooms, and the capacity to add five more.

The budget has not been released, but  Todd Booth told council that 50 per cent of the funding has been confirmed, and a business case is being put together to request funding from the province. Should they secure that funding, a further $1 million will have to be raised by the hospice society.

The Township of Langley is providing a grant of up to $75,000 to cover the permit and application fees, after a motion from Coun. Angie Quaale was passed unanimously.

Quaale said the Langley Hospice Society is asking the province for $3 million from the housing budget, which does not take away from the traditional health care budget.

She also stressed that the grant from the Township will not translate into a tax increase for residents.

Beyond covering the cost of fees, providing the grant will also demonstrate to the province just how importance the new hospice facility is to the community, Quaale said.