As anyone who follows my site knows, Grace Hospice is very special to me, as it was the place where I spent the most time with Carli Ward. Carli had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in August 2006 at the age of 24 and she spent her final months of life at Grace Hospice, a free-standing palliative care facility on the grounds of Grace Hospital in west Winnipeg. I visited her often once she moved there on the first day of May 2007 up until her death on the morning of December 15 of that year.
Carli was treated exceptionally well at Grace Hospice and, in many respects, it was her best home. She had a difficult life, but she received the care she needed at the time she needed it the most and in a home-like setting. We are fortunate to have that facility as part of our health care system.
Despite the passage of time since Carli’s death, I make regular visits there to see her name up on the plaque at the memory garden as well as her name up on the “In Memoriam” wall inside Grace Hospital.
I haven’t forgotten Carli.
I never will.
During my most recent pilgrimage, however, I noticed some new additions to the parking lot.
This shot shows one of the parking stalls with a new sign in front of it that reads “Remember your stall number. Pay inside hospice.” All the parking stalls have the same signage, including the two stalls designated for use by the handicapped.
I was appalled.
I still am.
For those not familiar with the layout at Grace Hospital, there are separate parking lots for both the main hospital and for the hospice. The hospital is fair game for parking fees as far as I’m concerned, but the hospice is a completely different matter.
Carli spent seven and a half months there, but she was an exception. According to Jon Einarson, director of the Grace Hospital Foundation, the average stay at Grace Hospice is 30 days. Distraught family members and friends visiting their loved ones as they hover near death will now be pulling up to the parking lot only to be asked to dig out their wallets for the privilege of parking there, as if they don’t have enough on their minds.
In this situation, visitors should be encouraged. Strongly encouraged. Welcomed with open arms.
Now they’re being nickel-and-dimed.
And that’s tacky.
Shame on the heartless bureaucrats who thought this was a good idea.