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Hospice Palliative Care Week - May 3-9

This year’s national theme is “The Power of Ten: Let’s Talk About Hospice Palliative Care”. The theme incorporates the idea of spreading the message regarding the importance of quality palliative care in our country. The principles of this year’s campaign are simple; everyone has a role and the potential to reach a vast network of people by talking to ten people within your social circle and asking them to talk to ten people.

As the manager of the Interlake-Eastern Palliative Care Program, I am taking this opportunity to talk to ten people (although I imagine many more people are reading this article) to increase the general knowledge and awareness of palliative care and its essential role within the health care system.

I am often asked “what is palliative care?” The answer is always the same: it is care aimed to provide support to the individual and their family, to relieve suffering by providing effective pain control and symptom management all while improving quality of life. This type of care should begin when a life threatening condition is diagnosed so that individuals and families are supported as they manage the often complicated journey at the end of life.

A palliative approach to care can be provided by any health care professional in any care setting (hospital, hospice, at home, in long term care homes or any other community setting). When required, people are referred to the region’s palliative care program and we can work with them and their health care team to lessen the burdens of suffering, loneliness and grief. This is achieved in Interlake- Regional Health Authority by palliative program nurse specialists, psychosocial specialists and numerous volunteers who dedicate their time to supporting clients and their families. Volunteers who give of their time to the program are supported by the volunteer coordinator. We strive to provide an integrated palliative approach to care that focuses on people’s needs at any given point in time. What people need and want changes at times and each person’s personal values, wishes and desires need to be considered. This is a time for advanced care planning that allows people to make decisions about their care while they are able to before they become too ill to make decisions about treatment options at end of life.

Hospice palliative care applies to families as well as individuals as they navigate through the difficulties that can arise. Through this care, families gain a better understanding of their loved ones’ wishes which can ease the way when difficult decisions need to be made. This is achieved through important conversations and planning to understand the individual’s goals and ensure a better quality of life through to death.

If you would like more information about palliative care services in your area or you would like a postcard to assist you in spreading the word, please contact me: Tammie-Lee Rogowski, 204-467-3361,

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