Residents are being invited to take part in a charity bike ride in support of the Saanich Peninsula Hospital & Healthcare Foundation’s (SPHHF) palliative care unit (PCU).
The May 26 ride is in memory of Denis Muloin, a passionate advocate for cycling who many will remember as the manager of Sidney’s Russ Hays bike store. Denis died in 2014 after a long battle with cancer. His last months were spent at the PCU and his friends and family were so impressed by the care he received they collaborated with SPHHF to create the fund-raising ride.
The PCU offers comprehensive end-of-life care and all proceeds will go to its operation and programs. Dr. Leah Norgrove and nurse Maggi Morton knew Denis Muloin and cared for him. They say a new sunroom has been created and staff work hard to make the unit a unique part of the hospital.
“This flagship unit at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital is not just a regular hospital unit. Many enhancements make it a special place; the feeling of caring and of home is embedded in every aspect,” says Norgrove.
Retired nurse Morton adds, “When you walk into the palliative unit you sense something different; a sense of caring, understanding and support. Thanks to the PCU at the Saanich Peninsula Hospital, families can stay with their loved ones within the community.”
Funds raised by the bike ride will also go to maintaining facilities for family members, as family support plays a big role in creating as comfortable and familiar an environment for patients as possible.
The unit is set up to provide palliative care to people from the Saanich Peninsula who are close to the end of their life. Staff offer symptom control and respite care in a specialized setting, for patients in their final days.
To do this effectively, the PCU has private rooms and bathrooms, sleeping chairs for family members, and music therapy. The foundation says donor dollars have allowed them to purchase much-needed equipment like CADD pumps, which provide continuous infusion of medicine for symptom management.
Norgrove notes facilities aren’t the only facets of the PCU that require funding.
“Newly graduated doctors and nurses have not received much education in palliative care, so providing them with learning opportunities makes an enormous difference to the patients and their families.”
The PCU has also concentrated on working with local First Nations to incorporate their cultural preferences regarding their “journey home.” This work aims to give staff improved competence and perspectives when caring for W’SANEC Nation Communities.
The 2019 Denis Muloin Ride for Palliative Care starts at Lochside Park on May 26 at 9 a.m.
The entry fee is $25 per rider, $40 for a family. Participants are asked to register online at sphf.ca/events.