The Transition Strategy Team is welcoming Expressions of Interest for the newly formed Interim Advisory Group.
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Expression of Interest Application
Not only is the one-week campaign focused on sharing the achievements of hospice palliative care, services that help maintain quality of life before death, but it is also the perfect time to raise awareness and have a conversation that is often avoided, according to Dr. Nancy Merrow who has been appointed chairperson of the Hospice Palliative Network for the Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).
“Right now, only 15 per cent of Canadians die with good palliative care and that’s really low,” she said. “People shouldn’t be afraid to talk about death and I would love to open the conversation sooner for families.”
Her vision is to connect all providers across the LHIN to allow families to call one central phone number that can connect them with the service needed. The current lack of such a network makes navigating the system difficult for families and individuals seeking hospice palliative care services, especially when a person is ill or stressed.
“People need to get what they need when they need it,” Dr. Merrow said. “The reason there isn’t consistent care now is because there is no one in charge, no one to hold accountable.”
She plans to work to develop partnerships throughout the region and beyond to build a real program that will serve people who need it most. She is a strong advocate of providing people a choice of where they want to spend their final days rather than burdening their family by staying home or being in the hospital.
Dr. Merrow not only intends to push for more residential hospice beds — the region has three in Richmond Hill — but also to secure funding and get hospice palliative care declared a core service.
“Right now, these programs have to raise 60 per cent of their own funds, which is always a struggle, no matter the organization,” she said. “A lot of time and money is being spent to hold fundraisers when that could be better spent on providing programming and care.”
Funding is needed in York Region, according to Doane House Hospice board chairperson Debbie Johnston. The organization that enhances the quality of life by providing non-medical support for those affected by or caring for an individual with a life-threatening disease fears it will soon have to cut programming if funding isn’t found.
STEERING COMMITTEE QUALITY OF CARE RESEARCH & EVALUATION HPC TEAMS