Patients in Vancouver facing life-threatening illnesses can lean on Friends for Life. The government is supporting the organization with $150,000, announced Health Minister Terry Lake.
The Vancouver Friends for Life Society provides those living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, hepatitis C, cystic fibrosis, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) with alternative health and support services to help them and their loved ones cope with the diagnosis and ongoing condition.
The funding will help the society renovate their Diamond Centre for Living facility.
“We are pleased to provide the Vancouver Friends for Life Society with this funding, which will help them update and repair the Diamond Centre to make their clients feel even more comfortable in their surroundings,” said Lake. “Supporting the great work this society does to help its clients, aligns with our government’s commitment to community-based patient care built around multi-disciplinary teams that treat the whole patient, not just the disease.”
The facility has been a welcoming and therapeutic home to the society and its clients for 20 years. This funding will go toward updating appliances and furniture, repairing or replacing flooring, and general repairs, which will help the centre to continue to provide support services to clients.
“This funding will allow us to provide much-needed updates to our beloved house and will provide our clients with a more comfortable environment in which to build a path to wellness,” said Vancouver Friends for Life Society board president Paula Parker. “From serving up nutritious brunches and cooking classes, to yoga and meditation, to massage and naturopathic services, all of our programs will feel the positive effects of a refreshed environment.”
The society provides clients with 50 complementary and alternative health services. These include individual support and counselling, group and social support, nutrition programs and in-home support for individuals in the palliative stages of illness.
"Friends for Life has helped me tremendously in a time of need, where I was falling apart emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. With the abundance of programs and wonderful staff at Friends for Life I got back on my feet again; where I can function and keep my little boat running. Thank you very much.” said Sylvain, a Vancouver Friends for Life Society client.
The Ministry of Health has developed the Setting Priorities for the B.C. Health System, an overarching strategy to create a more sustainable health system. A large part of these priorities are focused on quality of life for patients. As part of this strategy, a series of policy papers, including ones on primary and community care services, were created to help build better supports that help meet the needs of patients, and keep them living independently in their communities near their support systems as much as possible.
For more information about the society, visit: http://www.friendsforlife.ca/
To read the Ministry of Health’s strategic document, Setting Priorities for the BC Health System, and its accompanying policy papers, please visit: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=EF73BCF3DE34484CB4DBA9E34092402C
- Vancouver Friends for Life Society started out of a small one-bedroom apartment in 1993, delivering massage therapy and hot meals to people living with HIV/AIDS.
- In 1995, the society opened the Diamond Centre for Living, a restored three-storey, 3,400 square-foot (approximately 316 square metres) Victorian house in Vancouver’s West End.
- The society has more than 300 volunteers, including a team of more than 200 health practitioners who provide their services to the society and patients free of charge.
- On average, the society provides 20,000 holistic health appointments a year (including home-based services). In 2014, 9,148 of those were appointments and drop in visits to the Diamond Centre for Living.
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