Another exciting initiative is underway at Castlegar Hospice. For her fourth time Executive Director Suzanne Lehbauer was a recipient of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem and the BC Hospice and Palliative Care Association award and grant.

The $7,500 will go towards new training for end of life care providers and health professionals using virtual reality.

“I mean this is huge in terms of what we’ll be able to do, not only in our own community, but in our region as well. Once I take the training and we get the equipment here we’ll be able to offer this service to various other organizations as well,” said Lehbauer.

The equipment provides an immersive experience that will give care providers new insights into helping their clients.

“You really are totally immersed in the first person going through all of these things from beginning to end, so it really creates more of an empathy for what our clients are going through,” Lehbauer explained.

The hardware is being provided by Embodied Labs Chicago which also provides labs in dementia, loss of vision and hearing as well as end of life. Castlegar Hospice will be the first in Canada to bring in this type of training and puts them at the top of the hospice training scale.

Lehbauer was one of 23 submissions for the award and grant and one of 11 chosen recipients.