Palliative care seeks community support

Like a phoenix, palliative care has risen from the ashes as a non-profit society in Trail with two new professionals running the program.

Like a phoenix, palliative care has risen from the ashes as a non-profit society in Trail with two new professionals running the program.

Talk of setting up the Greater Trail Hospice Society began after Interior Health (IH) eliminated a social worker position at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital last year and it was agreed that Hospice should become non-profit to go after government funding.

The society is still following the same mandate it has for nearly 25 years – supporting quality of living for those in the process of dying and providing a healthy transition through grief for the bereaved – but it is now relying more on the community for financial support.

“It’s a bit like being grownup, we have to pay the bills now and we’re employers,” said Brenda Hooper, vice president of the society’s board.

The new society operates on some “seed money” from IH, which she said covers approximately 20 per cent of its annual budget, and is left to raise the remaining funds through fundraising.

Taking the service into its own hands, Hospice employs Camille Roberts, program director, and volunteer coordinator Sabine Mann. Both were introduced to the community at an open house this month, which also highlighted the organization’s new website created for free by local professional Kale Stanchuk.

See HOSPICE, Page 12

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“We tend to think death is frightening and it’s not so much when it’s been an expectant thing and you sort it out,” said Hooper. “Sometimes people at the end feel like it’s a relief because their loved one has been suffering and sometimes it’s not.”

Beyond facilitating trained volunteers to journey alongside dying individuals, Hospice provides practical support, such as helping with financial issues and writing of wills, and gives psychosocial support for both the patient and their family by aiding in planning for the future, offering support and education about an illness and sharing coping tools.

“Just as when you’re giving birth, there’s lots of nitty gritty and it’s hard work, well it’s work for the person that’s dying too,” explained Hooper, who began working as a community nurse in the mid-70s and was the first coordinator to run Hospice during its inception in 1987.

“It’s a privilege to personally be allowed into peoples’ lives and just to be there, there’s sort of a sense of awe that they trust you enough to want to have you there.”

Hospice swung into fundraising mode in September with a golf tournament in memory of  the late Bernie McMahon, who was the region’s original Hospice volunteer, and is now selling cookbooks out of its office at Kiro Wellness Centre.

IH personnel continue to provide home nursing, counselling and work with care facilities to provide end-of-life care and allows the non-profit society to operate out of its facility.

To learn more about Hospice, to get involved or to donate, check out www.trailhospice.org

Hospice can be reached directly at 364-6204 or via email at info@trailhospice.org.

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