Hospice awaits royal opening

| 26/03/2019
CNS Local Life
Jasmine Villa, the new home for the hospice (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

(CNS Local Life): As the staff at Jasmine Villa, the new home for Cayman HospiceCare, prepares for the upcoming visit this week of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, the facility is also only “days away” from getting approval of its health practitioner’s licence. Felicia McLean, director of operations and nursing at Jasmine, explained that the facility was inspected last week and the Health Practice Commission Board met Friday, 22 March, so approval of their certificate is imminent.

If the timing works out, the official royal opening of the facility, set for Thursday, 28 March, should coincide nicely with Jasmine’s licence to operate the medical aspects of the hospice.

“Having Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall, open Jasmine Villa is an honour,” McLean told CNS. “This facility is the first of its kind in the Cayman Islands and having it opened by (her) is the icing on the cake. She will see firsthand what our community can do when it comes together for a good cause.”

The duchess will cut the ribbon to officially open the hospice and will unveil the plaque commemorating the occasion, McLean said, adding that she will then get a tour of the facility, which will include a summary of what “Jasmine offers our community and what is to come”. Jasmine’s major donors will also be on hand for the opening.

Dr Virginia Hobday, medical director of the hospice, also noted the significance of a royal taking part in the ceremony. “We’re delighted because it comes at such a unique moment in the history of Jasmine, having just changed our name and at the long-awaited opening of our facility,” Hobday said. “It is an honour for us to have Camilla take an interest in opening Jasmine. It’s nice for future generations to see a royal person open the facility, it offers a real gravitas to the event.”

The doctor spoke of the many things the hospice can offer, pointing out that the new facility is “much more cohesive”, as it combines the administrative and medical sides, an advantage over the previous setup where the two units were in separate locations.

“Our role is not just end-of-life care but also palliative care for symptom control,” she added. “We can have daily sessions, with alternative and complementary therapies available. It is also a homey environment but still a medical facility. It was beautifully designed by John Doak and has a unique Cayman feel to it yet it is very modern and functional.”

She recalled the efforts to get the financial resources in place to build the new home for the hospice, singling out Derek Haines for his “enthusiasm and vision” in taking on six marathons in one year to raise money for the construction. By the time he crossed his last finish line in 2014 at the Cayman Islands Marathon, he had hit his hoped-for $1 million mark, with his fundraising total eventually reaching $1.4 million.

“We had individual donors for the new building which began with Derek Haines, who kickstarted the project,” Hobday said. “It was a defining moment, the major thing that galvanised the entire community to get behind the project. Because of Derek, people have felt the project is for the whole community. We have had contributors from throughout the community, so many different people, from different walks of life and generations, and different cultures.”

The effort was aided by Doak designing the facility for free and Dart’s donation of the land. “This is an opportunity to show what the community has put together, through fundraising and in-kind donations and expertise,” Hobday added.

She considers the idea of community as central to Jasmine’s role in Cayman. “We would like Jasmine to be a place where people are not afraid to come by and visit,” Hobday said. “We will have events here to try to dispel any fears and myths that sometimes surround hospice care. It is a perfect fit for our community. It will be a home for the hospice in perpetuity.”

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Category: Local News, Medical and Health

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Such an achievement for the Cayman Islands! Must be a front page article. Thank you to Derek Haines and all involved!