The Whistle Bend Continuing Care Facility photographed in Whitehorse on July 17, 2018. Wind River Hospice House in Whistle Bend Place officially opened its doors June 8 and is expecting its first resident at the end of this week. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

New option for palliative care

Wind River Hospice House in Whistle Bend Place officially opened its doors June 8 and is expecting its first resident at the end of this week.

The 18-room palliative care unit provides respite and palliative care for patients at end of life with a phased approach being taken to the opening. Up to eight beds will be opened initially.

Once fully opened, there will be eight rooms for hospice care for those with a prognosis of four months or less, six rooms for long-term palliative care for those with a prognosis of 12 months or less and four rooms for respite care for those with a prognosis of 12 months or less.

“I am extremely pleased to announce the opening of the Wind River Hospice House, the first program of this type in Yukon. Wind River Hospice House will help Yukoners and their families through what can be a challenging time in their health and life journey,” Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost said in a statement. “The staff are in place and ready to welcome the first residents.”

Health and social services spokesperson Julie Ménard described the hospice house as the latest addition to the overall palliative care program offered.

Wind River, she said, offers an alternative setting for those who cannot be cared for in their own home, but also don’t require a hospital setting.

“In addition, the care team at Wind River House will be able to build their skills and knowledge to better support hospice palliative care in the Yukon,” Ménard stated in a June 10 email.

Among the staff dedicated to Wind River and set to work together coordinating care are physicians, nurses, nursing home attendants, social workers, spiritual caregivers, support staff and volunteers.

At a time of physical distancing and visiting restrictions at some institutions due to COVID-19, residents of Wind River will be able to have visitors.

“These visitors are considered end-of-life essential care visitors,” Ménard said. “Continuing Care is working with the CMOH and YCDC on Long-Term Care Pandemic Visiting Guidelines which are in the process of being finalized.”

All visitors will be required to be screened and sign in, undergo a COVID-19 screening questionnaire and temperature check, wear a medical mask throughout their time in the care home, remain in the resident’s room throughout the visit, not visit other residents, wear any other personal protective equipment as required and follow hygiene requirements on entry and exit from both the patient’s room and the building.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at


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