COHA was founded in 1981 and received its charitable status in 1982. At that time, a handful of visionary and compassionate folks saw a need for trained volunteers to provide support to the terminally ill and their families in the Central Okanagan region. Although there is a long history of shelter and sanctuary for those who were ill and dying, it was not until the early 1900’s in England that the need of the dying were addressed.
Since COHA’s inception, it has become a valuable hospice palliative care community resource and an active partner with Interior Health’s Palliative Care Program. Over one hundred trained volunteers give their time and talent to provide support to clients and their loved ones, in homes, at the Kelowna General Hospital, in care facilities and at The Central Okanagan Hospice House. The volunteers may range from direct service volunteers, garden volunteers, help desk and Bereavement volunteers, as well as bedside, and vigil. COHA is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and operates with a part time staff of 5. The focus for staff and volunteers is on caring, family wellness, community involvement, personal dignity and quality of life. After a loss, our Bereavement Program provides help and support to those who are grieving.
“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of the journey…at other times is allowing another to take yours”