When the elevator at Ty Watson House Hospice in Port Alberni quit working last month, the Alberni Valley Hospice Society hoped insurance would cover the hefty repair bill.
No such luck: not only did patients have to be carried upstairs to their bedrooms by volunteers, but the hospice will now have to find $72,000 to pay for the repairs.
The hospice was without its elevator for five weeks, said Teresa Ludvigson, the hospice’s new fund development officer. While it has now been repaired, Ty Watson House was forced to pay for it out of its annual operating fund. That money now needs to be replaced, she said.
“The $72,000 cost is a serious impact on our operational budget,” she explained. “In those five weeks we had volunteers from specific service organizations carry our residents up and down the stairs. We cannot operate without an elevator.”
Although the elevator undergoes regular maintenance checks every three months, it was impossible to see the damage until the elevator quit working, executive director Theresa Maxmenko said. The master cylinder, which is encased in PVC plastic, had corroded, and any sort of corrosion isn’t covered by insurance.
The hospice has started a gofundme account and this week will be mailing an appeal to approximately 10,000 households in the Alberni Valley, asking for people to help pay for its elevator.