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Hospice society helps community navigate grief and loss

In his final days, what Marty Carew wanted above all was peace and quiet.
Crossroads Hospice made the experience for the family, one of peace and acceptance.

In his final days, what Marty Carew wanted above all was peace and quiet.

 While he had been in and out of the hospital to manage the pain from his advanced small intestine cancer, the busy and noisy environment of the palliative ward made him unhappy.

 Marty wanted to go home, but the layout of his family’s townhome made it too difficult to meet his needs. After several attempts to care for him at home, his family was connected with Crossroads Hospice Society, where he was admitted shortly after.

 “The first thing Marty said when we got there was look how quiet it is here,” says Cheryl Carew, Marty’s widow.

 “We knew at the time what he wanted was quiet. No beeping and buzzing, poking and prodding.”

 Serving the communities of Anmore, Belcarra, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, Crossroads Hospice Society provides a 10-bed hospice residence as well as grief and loss support.

 Marty was admitted to a fully furnished private room that included a private bathroom where he finally found the peace he’d been craving.

 “They made it easy for him to be there,” Carey says.

 “They made it easy for him to be there and left him when he wanted to be left. If he wanted to sleep, they let him sleep.”

 Each of the 10 private bedrooms at Crossroads is fully furnished and provides the option for family members to stay overnight. Steps from each bedroom is the great room, a living and dining area where loved ones can gather together to enjoy a meal, spend time with a puzzle or do crafts. The residence also has two rooftop gardens, which are maintained by the hospice’s volunteers.

 The Crossroads care team is made up of Fraser Health staff, Crossroads staff and hospice society volunteers. Fraser Health is responsible for the medical and nursing care of all patients and provides a team of doctors, nurses, and a pharmacist. Fraser Health also provides a spiritual care coordinator and social worker to address psychosocial and spiritual needs.

 “Near the end, me and my daughter would have sleepovers. If I got up in the morning and Marty wasn’t awake, I would visit with other people or use the microwave to make myself food,” Carew says.

 “It was more of a family environment. I would bring my dog in to snuggle with my husband. You couldn’t do that in the hospital.”

 Crossroads worked to ensure that Marty’s last moments were as peaceful as possible, respecting his final wishes.

 “In his last six weeks, they gave Marty as much dignity, privacy, space and quiet as possible. They took really good care of him there. I wanted to give that to him at home, but I couldn’t,” Carew says.

 “I’d highly recommend Crossroads to people because it provided a place where we could be together to share Marty’s final days and give him the care he needed. It was the best place for him and it made all of us more comfortable knowing he got the care he needed and they really respected his wishes. You want your loved ones to be cared for.”

 Crossroads also provided Carew emotional support following her husband’s death, including connecting her with a bereavement services coordinator, support group, and resources for how to navigate the holidays following bereavement. Crossroads also helped to connect Carew with other people who were at Crossroads at the same time. They continue to meet up and support each other through their grief.

 Crossroads offers grief and loss support to anyone in the community, whether it’s a child, parent, spouse, friend, or even co-worker. The society believes no one should walk their grief journey alone and is committed to educating its communities about death, dying and grief.

 “I’m grateful because they made a difficult situation easier to deal with thanks to their kindness, generosity and spirit,” Carew says.

 “They were a comfort to all of us.”