On July 31, 2023, the newly renovated May’s Place celebrated its official reopening under the leadership of Providence Health Care (PHC).
Situated in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), May’s Place Hospice has long been a haven for individuals grappling with mental illnesses and substance use disorders. As the first free-standing hospice in Western Canada, it was pivotal in aiding the community during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1990s. Today, PHC is proud to carry on the tradition of outstanding care that May’s Place is known for.
At the grand re-opening, Fiona Dalton, CEO of Providence Health Care, expressed her enthusiasm for welcoming May’s Place to the PHC family as our 18th site. “I’m deeply gratified to align with an institution that embodies our shared values: compassionate care, a history of aiding the most vulnerable, and an unwavering commitment to essential services like end-of-life care in British Columbia.”
Anne Way, the hospice’s unit supervisor, highlighted May’s Place’s longstanding commitment to serving overlooked individuals. She recalled an instance that underscored the team’s dedication. “We cared for a client left paralyzed from drug-related abscesses, who had lost decision-making ability due to numerous overdoses and brain oxygen deprivation. The team embraced him with compassion, prioritizing his comfort and doing everything they could to help.”
Ian James, a registered nurse with seven years at May’s Place, provided a glimpse into the hospice’s evolution. “Our location and client base may have brought stigma, but anyone stepping inside would feel the warmth and genuine care. The recent renovations have only enhanced this atmosphere,” he said. Regarding the transition to PHC, James added, “What PHC introduces is invaluable. Access to spiritual practitioners, social workers, Indigenous Liaisons, substance-use experts and other resources that enriches our service, addressing our clients’ diverse physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.”
Expressing optimism for the future, James said, “May’s Place began its journey by helping HIV patients. I hope we continue to grow, always serving the underserved. Under PHC’s wing, emphasizing team collaboration and support, our impact will be stronger than ever. Our mission, to me, is sacred.”
Echoing this sentiment, Way envisioned a future where May’s Place broadens its hospice palliative care reach even further to clients of all backgrounds, including those suffering from substance use disorders and/or people experiencing homelessness. “Safe, comfortable, and patient-centred care options that acknowledges the often traumatic and heartbreaking stories of many clients, are needed. We have an obligation to alleviate suffering whenever possible.”
Concluding the event, Fiona encapsulated the transition’s essence: “As we traverse this shared path, our unwavering focus remains to make a positive difference, foster meaningful connections, and create uplifting experiences that resonate with the human spirit.”
May’s Place commenced client admissions immediately following the grand re-opening.
PHC’s Senior Leadership team is deeply appreciative of the responsiveness and cooperation from all parties involved in facilitating the transition for Providence to seamlessly assume operations.
Despite being a smaller site, in addition to the strong leadership this transition requires it necessitates support from many different departments, including Biomedical Engineering, Communications, Environmental Services, Facilities, Finance, Food and Nutritional Services, Health Emergency Management, Health Information Management, Human Resources, the Indigenous Wellness Team, Mission, Ethics and Spirituality, Occupational Health & Safety, the Office of Strategy and Results, Quality, Patient Safety and Risk, Supplies and Equipment, Volunteer Resources and many others. As expected, the Providence team has once again delivered outstanding support.