LETTER: Decisions on hospice should be made sooner rather than later

Dear editor,

From what I’ve read about hospice care in this area, the needs of an aging population are ill-served.

There certainly should not be any religious affiliation to this care! I would not want my care decisions, including ‘MAiD’ (Medical Assistance in Dying) in the control of the Catholic church. Any control that the Catholic Church has in the health care area should be removed as soon as possible.

Hospice care should be planned for location in either Courtenay or Comox, and definitely not in Cumberland which is too remote to be visited conveniently, and too far from the new hospital. It should be accessible by public transit and provide free parking. No one in hospice care should have to be moved out of the community.

Since health care is in the public realm, hospice care should be funded publicly from the taxes we pay and not rely on public donations or private partnership. Full and proper hospice care should be made available as soon as possible. People with long-term care and people who are at end of life stage should be accommodated immediately as the need is identified by their doctor, and not delayed due to lack of space or staffing shortages imposed or caused by the health care authority. This is Island Health’s responsibility.

There certainly is no place for ‘off-shore’ for-profit organizations to be involved. These are Canadian lives, and we want to be cared for by Canadians using Canadian funds.

The people who work in hospice care should be provided with the best support, training and respect that they deserve. Looking after the very ill and dying is as important to the patients and their families as looking after the acute care cases in a regular hospital.

I appreciate that this is a potentially long-term project, but the need is immediate and urgent. Decisions should be made sooner rather than later and the job done sooner rather than later. The dying aren’t going to be able to wait for Island Health to dither, consult, hold more meetings, etc. Just get on with it.

Cathy Storey

Courtenay

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