Community effort sees new hospice, palliative care facility become a reality
In December 2014, Derek Haines crossed the finish line of the Cayman Islands Marathon and in so doing, reached his goal of raising CI$1 million in pledges to help finance a new facility for Cayman HospiceCare, which was recently renamed “Jasmine.”
The chairman of the organisation’s board, Chris Duggan, commented at the time that perhaps the facility should be called the “Cayman Community Hospice Centre.”
“That’s because it’s been a real community effort,” he said at the time, referring not only to the extraordinary efforts of Haines running six marathons in a year, but also to the many Cayman Islands residents and business owners who pledged to Haines the donations to Cayman HospiceCare.
Those words have become even more poignant over the past four years, as the dream of a new facility has been realised through a sustained effort that involved many people or entities in the Grand Cayman community, including a substantial contribution from the Dart organisation.
Sometime later this month or early next month, another finish line will be crossed when Jasmine Villa, a new, 6,000 square-foot, purpose-built facility will open in a location off West Bay Road across from the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.
“This is a historic occasion for Jasmine and for the community,” says Duggan now. “For more than 20 years, Cayman HospiceCare touched the lives of so many in our community, without having a place to call ‘home.’ With the completion of Jasmine Villa, we finally have our own, purpose-built, facility where we will not only continue doing the good work we have been doing, but will also provide other much-needed services to the Cayman community.”
In addition to hospice care for the terminally ill, and palliative care for those with debilitating pain, Jasmine will now also offer services for struggling caregivers and grieving survivors.
One of the reasons for renaming Cayman HospiceCare to Jasmine last month was the common misconception that it offered services only to the terminally ill.
“People so often associate the word hospice with the final stages of life,” says Duggan, adding that because of that misconception, many patients who could have benefited from what HospiceCare offered, either weren’t referred at all or were referred far too late.”
Duggan says he hopes the new name of the organisation will allow more people to seek the specific kind of help Jasmine can offer to all members of the community.
“Jasmine’s new motto is ‘Care above and beyond,’” says Duggan. “Jasmine Villa will allow us to offer that kind of care.”
MORE THAN HOSPICE CARE
Jasmine Director of Operations Felicia McLean says that several hospice facilities in other countries were visited to help determine the best layout and features to include in Jasmine Villa.
One wing of the building has four patient rooms with en suite bathrooms. A nurse’s station is located in the middle of the four respite rooms. The other wing has a meeting room for the clinical and administration teams, administrative offices and a nurses room. In the middle of the building is a family room, a meditation room, a kitchen and a multi-purpose community room.
In addition to patients who are admitted to Jasmine Villa, others who can use the facility are bereaving family members or caregivers, McLean says.
“They can come for day visits. It gives them a chance to get out and socialise,” she says.
Jasmine Villa also has accommodations for those visiting patients admitted to the facility, allowing them to even sleep in the same room.
In the past, Cayman HospiceCare could allow someone to stay only for a period of two to three weeks at the end of their life. McLean says that the hope is that Jasmine can accommodate people for a somewhat longer time frame. If, as the Cayman Islands population grows, demand for rooms becomes greater, the building’s design will allow for expansion, she says.
The Dart organisation has contributed to the Jasmine Villa project in numerous ways. In addition to the support of employees — including Haines, who was a Dart employee when he ran the marathons, and Duggan, who still is one of Dart’s vice presidents — the organisation donated the 1.15 acre parcel of land on which Jasmine Villa sits.
After identifying and subdividing off a suitable parcel for the facility, which was located on part of the land that made up the Dart arboretum, the site preparation required the relocation of a large number of trees, demolition of four buildings, the relocation of the entry road into the arboretum and the relocation of the utilities. Dart then filled the site to eight feet above sea level — at a cost of $100,000 — and designed and constructed a new road to Jasmine Villa.
McLean says many other businesses provided free labour or services, which started with John Doak providing the architectural services. Other businesses provided, as a donation or at cost, materials, furnishings, fixtures and even landscaping, and the government contributed by giving a duty waiver on imported materials.
“Jasmine Villa is a welcome addition to our community,” said Mark VanDevelde, Dart CEO. “We are pleased to have joined efforts with so many outstanding business partners, organisations and individuals to help a long-held vision become a reality. The importance of having a purpose built, dedicated hospice and palliative care facility in — and for — our community cannot be emphasized enough and I extend my congratulations to the Jasmine team on this incredible accomplishment.””This is truly a community building,” McLean says. “It came about based on community support and everyone can take pride in this building. It will make a real difference in people’s lives.”