Hospice garden with bench

Ian Anderson House offers incredible warmth and tranquility, writes Mary Lou Ip

My neighbour and his family decided Ian Anderson House Hospice (IAH) was where he could be most comfortable.

IAH is nestled next to Joshua Creek — its grounds manicured and picturesque. When you enter the vestibule, the warmth and tranquility of the home is palpable.

Its founder, Margaret Anderson, and her son Stuart, cared for their husband and father respectively, at home until Ian died at the age of 59 from cancer. As a legacy to her husband, Anderson created the sanctuary and our communities are indeed forever indebted to her for her generosity and vision.

In a society where the topics of death and hospice care are better left to their needed time — a time when families have no choice but to face the vulnerability and inevitability of the journey toward death — IAH holds a very prominent place.

It’s where living each day in the most possible comfort surrounded by the warm embrace of family, friends, staff and volunteers is at the heart of its mission.

I can attest to the high quality of care and what constitutes its philosophy because I have the honour of working there.

Pain and symptom management that is rendered within a dignified approach is pivotal. There are no limits to how far the team and volunteers will go to ensure the highest degree of comfort and symptom management.

Evidence-based tools are in practice. All domains are addressed, including the physical, spiritual and psychosocial realms. Pharmacological care is complemented with nonpharmacological interventions. The presence of staff sitting vigil at the bedside with residents who need that attention is another way to convey human presence and touch.

I will share two of the many experiences that reflects the sanctuary’s care philosophy.

As one resident arrived on a stretcher in our vestibule, a staff looked into her tired eyes and voiced: “Are you ready for a lot of loving?” As I took my place in pushing the stretcher to her bedroom, another staff member facing her in the hall conveyed: “Welcome to our home” — welcoming words indeed that reflect the resident and family experience from the moment one is welcomed at the door of the home.