A lodge for cancer patients who visit Victoria for treatment is continuing its safety protocols amidst the recent influenza outbreak.
“We still have mask mandates. We still do distancing in the large dining area. We work with two groups going in so that it’s not too crowded,” says the Director for Lodges with Canadian Cancer Society in West Canada, Philip Jansen. “So that’s how we mitigate those risks, which were for Covid, but also helps with in influenza.”
There are six lodges across Canada, but the largest one is in Victoria. The Victoria lodge sees hundreds of people a year, with 400 staying in 2021. Before COVID, the lodge saw around 700 people a year.
Residents stay as long as their treatment requires them to be in town.
“We have to be extra careful. So far we’ve managed this very well. We didn’t have incidents of COVID, but not until the transmission of COVID within the lodge. So our measures are definitely working.”
The Victoria lodge costs over a million dollars to operate due to maintenance costs of the building.
“It [has] three staff members a day, supported by very dedicated volunteers. We could not do this without volunteers. Then we have a long-term contract with Compass and McKee, who provide our housekeeping and kitchen staff.”
The lodge will be running a holiday campaign to cushion the costs. Jansen says cancer never takes a holiday.
“Unfortunately a lot of people are also in the midst of having cancer treatment or just receiving a diagnosis or have a family member they need to care for. So it’s also a difficult time for people to get a cancer diagnosis or to have cancer,” says Jansen. “It’s a very important period and donations this season, matter more than ever.”
More information on donating is available here.