New Program Enhances Dignity for End-of-Life Patients 

Deer Lodge Centre has initiated the “Cherry Blossom” program. Previously launched in other facilities in the WRHA, the program is designed to enhance the dignity and respect for individuals and their families at the end of life. The symbol of a cherry blossom is displayed outside a client’s room or on the privacy curtain of a client in a shared room. This indicates that death is imminent and is a reminder to staff, visitors and other clients (residents and patients) to respect the client and their space by refraining from making loud noise and conversation nearby.

In Japanese culture the cherry blossom, or “sakura” flower, serves as a reminder of mortality and humanity; knowing that the life of a human being can end anytime just like the flower’s. The cherry blossom represents this human condition, reminding us that life is short and that we should live it well.