Mission Hospice Society Board Members and Executive Director met on Saturday, December 9, 2017 to develop the organization’s three-year strategic plan. This three-year plan begins March 1, 2018 and ends April 30, 2021. The strategic planning session included the Board of Directors, Executive Director and was facilitated by Stacey Crawford.
The Mission Hospice Society (MHS) is a non-profit volunteer based organization that has been providing compassionate end-of-life care since 1985. MHS offers bereavement support in the community and at Christine Morrison Hospice Residence in Mission. MHS’s mission is “To enhance quality of life for individuals and families who are facing grief and loss or end of life illness by providing a safe, non-judgmental approach through compassionate care, resources and advocacy.”
MHS serves residents of Mission who require end of life hospice care and Bereavement services, as well as non-residents who want to be near their family in Mission at end of life. While MHS does not maintain a hospice of its own, it supports the local Christine Morrison Facility, which provides care for Missions palliative end of life. Our programs include memorial services, adults support group, women’s support group, children’s grief support group and one-on-one support. MHS volunteers have direct contact with patients and families, having been prepared for their role through a 30 hour training course. An extensive library of books and videos is also available to any member of the community.
These services are critical, especially when considering the fact that as our population ages, the number of deaths also continues to climb each year. According to Statistics Canada, 278,501 Canadians died in 2017. By 2026, that number will likely rise to 330,000 and a decade after that, to 425,000. Further, according to BC Stats, our elderly population is the fastest growing in Canada, with seniors 65 and older expected to grow from about 14% to 24% of the population by 2036 (as cited in MOHS 2010/11 – 2012/13 Service Plan). These statistics have significant implications for end-of-life care services both in our province and in the local community.
All MHS initiatives are run by a committed team consisting of a governing Board, Executive Director, administrative staff, and over 100 volunteers.
The following objectives were determined at the strategic planning session as priorities.
- Program review to assess effectiveness and determine opportunities for improvement
- Explore Social Enterprise/ Third Party Partner to generate funds that can be utilized to offset program/operational costs.
The MHS has seen successful growth over the past 3 years. Program expansion, successful fundraising initiatives, grants and growth in number of employees being indicators. With this growth the Executive Director and Board have identified the need for organizational sustainability to ensure the growth of the organization does not strain staff or volunteer capacity, or diminish financial capability. It was discussed that a review of the programs will help to evaluate the success of the current programs and will ensure those programs fit within the MHS mandate. It was identified that MHS already does the following very well:
- Responds well to community grief needs and any emergency grief situations
- Is efficient in grief support services and CMH comforts
- Has supported neighbouring communities with support services and expanded our involvement with regional partners.
The planning session explored the MHS mandate from the perspective of who we are helping, as well as discussing what problems we are helping solve. This dialogue resulted in the identification of opportunities to create efficiencies in service delivery, as well as the identification of new opportunities that may better serve the needs of the community.
Identified recipients of our services include all those dealing with grief and loss, with a particular focus on seniors, children, bereaved parents, refugees and those in palliative care.
We continue to face increasing challenges around fundraising. We need to look at new ways to raise funds while not burdening community members who may be experiencing funder fatigue. Further, community members are often unaware of MHS’s distinct mandate, approach, role and purpose in the community compared to other end of life options. There is a need for education and improved community awareness of our organization’s specific role in the community and its intersection with other services for grief and end of life care.
2018-2021 Identified Programming:
- CMH Comfort and support services
- Children and Teen programs
- Dying to Know series
- N Care Pilot Project
- Social Enterprise
- Seniors Education project
- In Home companion care
- Care giver support group
- One to one Bereavement support
The above were the top ranking programs identified by the Board, based on importance to the community and considering the capacity of the organization. The Executive Director reviewed these outcomes and programs and has the following to add:
- Our Adult support groups such as Compassionate friends, pathways, tea & company and our afterlife conversations are all well attended and effective support groups within our community. These programs are valuable resources and support systems for people who are suffering from grief and loss.
- Dying to Know series should be paired with senior center education project We believe the attendance will be higher and this is the demographics we are looking to educate and inform.
- One to Ones are effective but we need to start placement into support groups after first intake and start to limit amount of one to one for each client. The one to ones are taking up too much staff time and we are not clinical counsellors.
- Volunteer training and bereavement training need to be molded together as one training session over 8 week