20-bed cancer hospice soon to take off
A plan to construct a 20-bed hospice in Barbados for people with cancer and other terminal illnesses – the first facility of its kind – is about to take a major step to becoming reality.
Jessica Odle-Baril of the Barbados Cancer Association USA (BACA) said she and chairman Dr O’Neall Parris were recently involved in “fruitful meetings” and the organization was “a signature away” from identifying the location for the US$2 million hospice.
She made the disclosure during an interview with Barbados TODAY in Brooklyn, New York over the weekend, as she spoke briefly about plans for the construction expected to begin next year.
“This hospice will deal with end of life, not only from cancers but other non-communicable diseases,” said Odle-Baril, the first chairperson of BACA that was formed in 2005 when she was Consul General of Barbados in New York.
“We do not have a freestanding hospice in Barbados. At this stage in Barbados you die in the QEH [Queen Elizabeth Hospital] or if you can afford to have palliative care at home, you do it, but there’s no dedicated standalone facility,” added Odle-Baril who has also served in various positions on BACA’s executive board and as a committee chairperson.
Dr Parris, who spoke about the hospice plans when he was in Barbados in August for the Barbados Network Consultation 2014, said at the time that BACA was getting assistance from the Barbados Government in identifying a possible location for the facility.
Meantime, Odle-Baril expressed concern about cancer deaths in Barbados, particularly the number of people who die from breast cancer.
“When you see statistics that Barbados ranks eighth in the world with deaths from breast cancer – and that’s only one of the cancers – that’s a high number for us to be ranked at,” she said.
“We have to find ways of managing our situation there, and having a hospice and palliative care facility is one such to manage very critical end of life issues.”
The New York-based BACA is anon-profit organization dedicated to minimizing the impact of cancer on Barbados and Caribbean communities in the US by promoting prevention, early detection and prompt treatment of cancer.
Its programmes are supported by sponsorship, donations and fundraising activities.