Frequently asked questions

Who Are We?

Nanaimo Community Hospice is a place, a community and a philosophy. Dying, caregiving and grieving are three of life’s greatest challenges. Nanaimo Community Hospice believes that everyone struggling with these challenges regardless of age, means or culture deserves support. With compassion and dignity, our volunteers and professional staff offer free programs, resources, and education to our community where and when needed.

Hospice and palliative care both offer compassionate care to patients with life limiting illnesses. But palliative care – which is always a component of hospice care – can be used as a separate area of medical practice while the patient is receiving treatment.

Hospice care includes palliative care and addresses the patient’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs as well.

Hospice care is reserved for terminally ill patients when treatment is no longer curative during the last 6 -12 months of life, assuming the disease takes its normal course.

Palliative care can be employed while the patient is continuing active treatment through different phases of their life limiting condition.

Hospice care and Palliative Care treat the whole patient and the family, offering psychosocial and spiritual counseling.

When someone makes a decision to undergo medical assistance in dying, Nanaimo Community Hospice Society staff and volunteers will  be respectful of the person’s wishes and continue to offer compassionate emotional, spiritual and practical care and support to the person and their loved ones and caregivers.

Nanaimo Community Hospice does not have any beds, but provides supports to 13 beds at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Palliative Care Unit (PCU)

Programs & Services

All programs are for registered Hospice clients.

  • Child/Youth Program: Counselling and support for children and teens
  • Individual Counselling: Professional staff offer one-to-one counselling for those who are palliative, their caregivers and the bereaved.
  • Volunteer Home Visiting Program:  Trained volunteers support palliative individuals and family members in their own homes.
  • Palliative Care Unit (NRGH) Support:  Volunteers provide emotional and practical support to patients and families at NRGH on PCU.
  • Self-Care Clinic:  Reiki and relaxation for Hospice clients.
  • A Scented Space: Gentle aromatherapy hand massage and support for bereavement clients.
  • Companions Through Grief: A weekly drop-in adult bereavement support group.
  • Walking Group: Walk the seawall, have a coffee or tea, and join others experiencing bereavement.
  • Finding My Way: Coping With Grief: This is an 8-week bereavement program for adults at least six months into their grieving journey.
  • Traumatic Loss Support Group: This is an 8-week structured support program for adults who have experienced the loss of a loved one by suicide, violence or a drug related death.

Clients, on average, utilize services for approximately 18 months, but the this can vary based on individual needs and circumstances.  

A Scented Space is an interactive opportunity to explore how essential oils assist in the release of physical and
emotional pain. You will experience how inhaling the essence of a single oil can help you move through the emotions
of grief. Hand massages will also be offered.

Reiki is a Japanese technique that is used to heal physical and mental trauma, and to support mental clarity and spiritual well-being. In Japanese, the word “rei” refers to a higher intelligence that permeates all living and nonliving entities and guides the inherent functioning of the universe. The word “ki” refers to the nonphysical energy that flows through everything that is alive, including plants, animals, and human beings—because of this, ki is also often called “life force energy,” and is known as qi or chi from other lineages. The combination of these two words is what defines reiki as “spiritually guided life-force energy.”