Spe­cial ded­i­ca­tion

Grate­ful widow gives back to pal­lia­tive care and hospice in P.E.I.

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JIM DAY

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.’’

JIM DAY/THE GUARDIAN

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.

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