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Hospice society in Maple Ridge opens their doors to doctors

Open house on Tuesday, March 21, will spread awareness of hospice programs to those in medical field
The team at the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society including from left: Lindsey Willis; Michelle Spindor; Susanne Lamb; and Maureen McKay – going over resources they will be sharing with the Division of Family Practice next week. (Ridge Meadows Hospice Society/Special to The News)

Teams of physicians, hospitalists, and specialists will be learning more about hospice and the process of grief in an upcoming open house at the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society.

This is the first for the Division of Family Practice and Lindsey Willis, executive director of the hospice society, says the open house will strengthen the relationship between the physician group and the society so they can better know when and how to refer patients and families living with grief and loss to their free services.

Willis plans to give the group a general presentation on their services. Then her program staff – specifically the palliative and grief coordinator – will be holding a more in-depth look at the programs and how they support patients and families in the community.

“One of the gaps we’re trying to close in the community is the lack of knowledge of our grief and loss support as opposed to our end of life and palliative support,” said Willis, noting that as a hospice society it is easy to associate them with strictly hospice and end of life terminal illness support. However, she said, there is a 50/50 split.

And, in the community they are the sole provider of free grief support services and counselling when needed.

“That’s the one thing that we all experience. It’s the one human experience that we are all going to go through so the odds are a physician will have somebody in their office who is maybe presenting as lonely and depressed, but when you dig a bit deeper realizing that he lost his wife a year ago,” she said.

READ MORE: Ridge Meadows Hospice Society faces a 50% drop in volunteers

Willis did note that people can self refer themselves to the society. They don’t need to be referred by a doctor. But once that connection is made, meeting with a grief coordinator is the next step who will go through a list of services and supports that are available. And together they will look at the situation and what will best fit that person’s need.

“We have a range of services we can offer people,” explained Willis, including: one-to-one support with volunteers; grief groups for people who like to be with others in a community and grieve together; or a relaxation circle for some one who is perhaps not ready to talk about their grief but might just want to experience some relaxation and peace.

ALSO: Ridge Meadows Hospice celebrating 25 years

“And maybe it’s a one-off phone call from somebody every other month just to feel connected or maybe once you finish a grief group you feel you are not quite ready to fly on your own so now you join a relaxation circle for a bit,” added Willis.

“Our tagline is grief has no timeline,” she said.

Willis said this meeting has been in the works for a while and they are grateful to the Division of Family Practice for their advocacy and initiative for this event.

She also wants the community to know that they are once again open to the public following the COVID-19 pandemic and they are hoping to host an open house for the community in the near future.

• The Ridge Meadows Hospice Society can be reached by calling 604-463-7722 and is located at Unit 102, 22320 119 Ave. in Maple Ridge.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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