The new North Okanagan Hospice Society presentations, Living Well, Dying Well, give people a place to start thinking about resources and preferences for health care now and in the future.
“These presentations are open to the general public, people living with chronic conditions, those who want to plan ahead and their family members and caregivers,” said Kelli Sullivan, learning and effectiveness leader for the North Okanagan Hospice Society.
“It’s not issue specific or disease specific. It is planned to support the REACH (Resources, Education and Advocacy to Champion Hospice-Palliative care) initiative, which is a way for people to get the information they need to be more involved in their own health care.”
It is Sullivan’s wish that people will find information about what is available in the North Okanagan now and for the future and make care plans before they are in a crisis situation
“We want to engage with people early on to help and support them in their health care choices. Often people don’t know what is available and sometimes a small change can make a big difference to effectiveness and comfort. The earlier you start to think about it, the better the care you will receive because it can be more specific to your needs.”
The Living Well, Dying Well presentations will be held in Armstrong, Lumby and Vernon and include issues and discussions on advance care planning, health care options and collaborating in your own health care. The facilitators include Judy Nicol of Interior Health Authority, which is funding the project; Elizabeth Causton, of Victoria; Ruth Edwards, Hospice Society executive director; and Carole Robinson of UBC Okanagan.
The 10 sessions will take place starting Dec. 3 and 4 and carry on through to March 5. All sessions are open to the public and there is no charge, although pre-registration is recommended as space is limited at some venues. People can attend one or all sessions.
“We want to remind people that they can be more active in their own health care and it is to their benefit to think about it. Even if these presentations and the information in them plants a little seed that might help people later on, we are satisfied. This is our outreach to the community,” said Sullivan.
She added that she thinks that in some ways, society has become a death-denying culture and that a more balanced approach could be beneficial for everyone.
“If the Hospice Society can’t talk about death, who can? This is a way to start the conversation about how you want your health care to go between now and then, whenever then is: a long time in the future or closer,” she said.
Sullivan encourages people to call and talk about the programs with someone from the society to see if these presentations might be what they are looking for. For more information or registration call 250-503-1800 (ext. 101) or see www.nohs.ca.