The Prince Rupert and District Hospice Society is hoping to get the majority of people on the North Coast prepared to deal with their end-of-life care.
Hospice society president Judy Riddell and member Louisa Sanchez were in Port Edward on July 14 to outline the group’s 75-20 initiative, with the goal being to have 75 per cent of the population prepared with an end-of-life plan by the year 2020.
“It means that you get the type of care that you would like at the end of your life if you are not able to communicate yourself because of an accident or a medical condition. It also means that your family and loved ones know what your desires are and it is much better to have spoken about it before you are in a hospital in a crisis situation. It also means that our medical system can best take care of people – they have a protocol they will follow because they are interested in people and what they want,” said Riddell.
“A lot of resources are invested during the last few months of people’s lives and perhaps that is not necessary. The baby-boomer population is aging and over the next 20 years we will be putting a lot of demand on our already stretched healthcare system and that is why it is important to look at being end-of-life prepared.”
Sanchez said having a plan for end-of-life care is important not only for the person facing death, but for their loved ones as well.
“Make sure you get your family together and get this done because I have seen too many times where families fight about this care,” she said.
“When you have this, there is no way anyone can change your plan because it was made when you were of sound mind. We are trying to get everyone to have this done before it gets to a point where dementia is an issue.”
To help people create a plan, the hospice society has partnered with Northern Health on a project entitled My Voice, which includes a booklet to walk people through all planning that may be required.
“It has been researched and designed by the Ministry of Health in British Columbia and many other provinces have a version of this. We have started by doing training for our volunteers and we will be hosting workshops in the fall at the Seniors Centre to help seniors prepare,” said Riddell, noting the booklet includes working through medical, financial, legal and social considerations related to end of life care.