Grateful widow gives back to palliative care and hospice

Jim Day
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 Alycia McGuire sits in the room named after her late husband, Brian McGuire, at the Provincial Palliative Care Centre in Charlottetown. The official unveiling of the Brian McGuire Room took place Monday.

For years, hospice and palliative care have held a deep place in Alycia McGuire’s heart.

Now the connection is even a bit stronger.

Monday marked the official unveiling of the Brian McGuire Room in the Provincial Palliative Care Centre in Charlottetown.

Alycia is moved by having a room named after her late husband, who died on Aug. 17, 2007. The room is devoted to the comfort of family visiting a loved one travelling his or her final journey.

“That’s very touching,’’ she says.

“(Brian) would be so pleased to know that this room is there for families.’’

Rachelle Pike, manager of the Provincial Palliative Care Centre, says the Brian McGuire Room is meant as a central place for patients, their family and staff to gather.

“It’s basically built all around comfort — the comfort of everybody,’’ she says.

“It’s just having the creature comforts of home.’’

Hospice and palliative care, notes Alycia, were certainly there for Brian McGuire, his family and his friends during his last months and days of life.

The level of care, she says, was nothing short of fantastic.

All efforts were made to allow Brian to spend as much time as possible at his home in Morell, including his final week spent surrounded by friends and family.

Whether at home or in the palliative care unit, Brian received top-notch care and attention.

“I couldn’t say enough about hospice and palliative care,’’ says Alycia.

“They were just amazing people.’’

Family and friends of Brian McGuire were so appreciative of the care, they started a golf tournament seven years ago to raise money for palliative and hospice care across P.E.I.

The annual event, known as The Onion, has been a great success, raising just under $200,000 to date.

“Tremendous, amazing,’’ says Pike.

“I guess (Brian McGuire) was truly an inspiration for this (tournament) to be going on for so long and getting bigger each year.’’

Alycia McGuire says the golf tournament is an important way to allow her, family members and friends to give back in appreciation for the care Brian McGuire received.

Alycia also decided to give back on a personal level by taking the hospice volunteer program.

One day each week, for the past several years, Alycia volunteers at the palliative care unit.

Her time spent comforting patients has been very rewarding.

“They all know they are dying, they all know they are on their final journey, but they are very peaceful,’’ she says.

“Sometime you don’t have to say too much, just be there with them, hold their hand.’’

Organizations: Provincial Palliative Care Centre, The Onion

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Morell, P.E.I.

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