About Prince George Hospice
History of Hospice
In 1987, Dr. Staniland and Ester Dewit, a physician and nurse at Prince George Hospital, recognized the pressing need for a palliative care approach in Prince George. This pivotal year also marked the formation of the National Hospice Palliative Care Association. In the initial years, Ester took the lead in training volunteers to provide compassionate support to individuals and their caregivers as they approached the end of life in their homes.
In the words of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross,
“Those who have the strength and the love to sit with a dying patient in the silence that goes beyond words will know that this moment is neither frightening nor painful, but a peaceful cessation of the functioning of the body.”
Prince George Hospice House volunteers embodied this sentiment, offering solace and comfort.
Community generosity played a crucial role in supporting Ester’s work and maintaining a small office at the United Way building. Ahead of its time, the community recognized the necessity for a Hospice House, where individuals could receive dignified end-of-life care surrounded by loved ones when home-based care was not feasible. The Prince George Rotary Club played a pivotal role in raising the funds needed to purchase the house, leading to the establishment of the first standalone hospice in British Columbia. This marked a transformative shift in end-of-life care options in Prince George.
The new era for hospice care saw the expansion of services to include grief support, bereavement services, and education and training. Over the years, the Hospice Society has continuously adapted to meet the evolving needs of the community.
While meeting financial obligations to fulfill these needs was not always easy, the commitment to providing compassionate care remained unwavering. The community reciprocated this dedication by offering their time, talent, and resources to sustain Hospice House’s operations.
The Prince George Hospice Society distinguishes the city from the rest of northern British Columbia by offering a dedicated hospice care facility. Through capital campaigns and support from BC Housing, the hospice house expanded to accommodate ten beds, making Prince George a leader in hospice palliative care in both the province and the country.
The unique offerings at Prince George Hospice include a Family Suite, a nourishing Kitchen for guests, family, and caregivers, a Fitness Room, and a Children’s Playroom. In 2020, as community needs grew, the hospice community programs expanded to include a caregiver program and the award-winning Grief and Grub for Guys.
In 2021, the society’s name changed to the Prince George Hospice Palliative Care Society to reflect the expanded care and support for those with life-ending illnesses.
The pandemic in 2022 revealed an even greater need for community support. PGHPCS responded by increasing their grief programs and developing the Family Bereavement Program, which includes support for children and the only Covid Long Hauler support group in the province. The society also adapted to offer virtual care across the province and began supporting hospices across the North.
In 2023, the Home Hospice program was initiated to allow individuals to receive care in the comfort of their homes, reflecting the same care and compassion provided at Rotary Hospice House.
As we move into the future, PGHPCS remains committed to providing hospice care that reflects the ongoing needs of the community. In the words of Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the hospice movement, “You matter because you are you, you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully but also to live until you die.”
To be a centre of excellence and innovation in hospice palliative care.
Our staff and volunteers provide specialized and compassionate hospice palliative care to meet the unique needs of persons, families, and communities within our region.
Compassionate Loving Care – Fostering personal relationships through patience and understanding.
Courage – Nurturing a courageous, supportive environment.
Diversity – Celebrating and honouring our individual uniqueness.
Dignity – Conducting ourselves in an honest and respectful manner.
Integrity – Taking personal responsibility and accountability.
Collaboration – Cultivating collaborative partnerships.
Our Digital Story
Faces of Hospice
These are the faces of our guests’ families, our incredible staff & volunteers, and the donors that provide the resources we need to provide care and compassion for those in need. Please watch and share our stories – there are more to come, so stay tuned!