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National Hospice Palliative Care Week Celebrates Top Five While I’m Alive

Submitted by Tammie-Lee Rogowski RN CHPCN(C)® CCHN(C)®, Clinical Team Manager, Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority Palliative Care Program

 National Hospice Palliative Care Week is May 7 to 13. This year’s national theme Top Five While I’m Alive incorporates the philosophy that hospice palliative care is about living your life and living it well, right to the end. Resources found at will help you work through a bucket list of your “Top Five While I’m Alive”. As I was reading through the resources, I considered my own top five while I’m alive list as well as the top five items I am thankful for when I think of the Interlake-Eastern RHA’s palliative care program. I can proudly say my top five thankful items (not in any particular order) are 1) our community volunteers, 2) our social workers, 3) our volunteer coordinator, 4) our nurses and 5) our physician support; all of these people work together to make our program what it is today.

Palliative care is the provision of skilled, compassionate interdisciplinary professional and volunteer care for people whose illness is not responding to treatment. The goal is the best possible quality of life for clients and their families. We all work together to make this statement a reality.

Interlake-Eastern RHA invests approximately $5 million annually to care for palliative care patients in hospitals, long-term care facilities and at people's homes in the region. The palliative care program functions under the umbrella of home care services which is funded through Manitoba Health. Palliative care uses services offered through home care such as nurses, home care attendants and occupational therapy. Interlake-Eastern RHA’s palliative care program has two full-time and one half-time nurses, who provide specialized support to our clients. The program also has the support of a community physician who is available for consults in pain and symptom management and available to the region’s physicians, nurse practitioners and the palliative care nurses. Outside of the available time of this physician, we encourage physicians to utilize the 24 hour consult services offered through Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

Bereavement support is offered to all clients and families who are involved with the program. Two social workers, one full-time and one half-time, provide this specialized service to our clients and families. We have partnered with Palliative Manitoba that has created an education document to help community members provide support to people who are grieving. I encourage community members to connect with our program if they would like a copy.

Our volunteer coordinator educates and supports the various volunteers who work with us. She also does the work and organizes volunteer resources required for us to host Camp Stepping Stones for a weekend every year. Camp attendees are children aged seven to 17 who have experienced the death of someone significant in their life during the previous year. Volunteers who donate their time are a blessing to the program as they sit at clients’ bedsides in hospitals or their homes and they help us with various program related needs and support the philosophy of palliative care. The coordinator also acknowledges, with letters of thanks, those who donate to palliative care. Funds donated to palliative care help us provide end of life education to communities, families and volunteers and they are used for extras that enhance how we can help such as the purchase of specialized equipment like mattresses that are more comfortable for clients who remain in bed most of the day. This equipment may not be available otherwise.

I encourage you to make your top five while you’re alive list and connect with me if you’d like more information about the palliative care program, Camp Stepping Stones or volunteer opportunities: 204-467-3361,



Visit for your downloadable bucket list.


Bucket List Guidelines

  1. Print the "bucket list" template (or create your own) and fill out your Top 5 While I'm Alive list.
  2. Take a 'selfie' or photo of your list, or of you holding your list.
  3. Post your photo to your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) using the hashtag #Top5WhileImAlive and tag the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association
  4. Encourage your social media contacts/friends/family to create and share their own list on their social media accounts!  


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