How Hospice Volunteers make a profound difference:

One day an elephant saw a hummingbird lying on its back with its tiny feet up in the air. “What are you doing?” asked the elephant. The hummingbird replied, “I heard that the sky might fall today, and so I am ready to help hold it up, should it fall.” The elephant laughed cruelly. “Do you really think,” he said, “that those tiny feet could help hold up the sky?” The hummingbird kept his feet up in the air, intent on his purpose, as he replied, “Not alone. But each must do what he can. And this is what I can do.”

Chinese Proverb.

Hospice Impacting Our Community

The decision to leave your home and be admitted to a long term palliative care facility is filled with guilt and heartbreak. Even more so knowing you will never come home. In our community we have one bed in the Pavilion available for this vital care.

Darek and I made the decision together and he was moved to the Pavilion on July 19/2015, a day after his 53rd birthday.

From the first day many fears were alleviated as the nurses became attracted to Darek’s ever present light and humor. The volunteers of the New Denver Hospice Society became family very quickly and a lifeline for the boys and I and so much so for Darek. As the family we were enveloped in care and support from the Hospice Volunteers.

It was a pleasure and honor to spent time with each nurse and volunteer during those final few weeks. Julie, Richard, Colin, Matt, Robin, Leslie and Katrina, the hours you spent with Darek were some of my favorite memories.

You each touched my soul with your selflessness and kindness. Adryan, Alkeks and I thank New Denver Hospice for bringing dignity to the process.

Joannah Ratynski

In British Columbia, the Representation Agreement Act, which came into effect in 2000, is a mechanism by which adults can name a Representative to make decisions for them, if, by reason of injury or disease, they are no longer able to make their own decisions. The person (or persons) designated can make legal, financial, personal care and medical decisions. This Act also states that the Representative(s) must make the decisions in accordance with the person’s expressed wishes and instructions.

If there is no Representation Agreement, the Health Care Consent Act names the next-of-kin as a substitute decision maker for people who are not able to give or withhold consent to medical treatment. This legislation also states that decisions made by the substitute decision maker have to be in accordance with the person’s expressed wishes and instructions.

In situations where conflict between family members is possible, or if your next-of-kin does not share your values and beliefs, it is extremely crucial that you do the necessary pre-planning to address your needs.

It is important for people to consider what treatments they might or might not want under various medical situations should they not be able to direct their own care.

Such instructions are known as advance medical directives or “living wills” — you are making medical choices in advance that only have relevance while you are still living. To address this issue, gather information, consider the options and discuss your thoughts with your family physician, your family or others close to you.

In loving memory of our clients

Death is nothing at all.

I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

Henry Scott Holland ~ 1847-1918
Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral ~ London. UK .

Although BC Legislation says that your wishes, whether verbal or written, must be followed, you have much better protection if your wishes are written. It is also important for all the people close to you and your doctor(s) to know that you have written an advance directive and for them to have a copy or know how to find it. Your wishes can only be followed if people know them. Do NOT put your advance directive in a safety deposit box as it may not be accessible when it is needed.

Currently there is no standardized advance directive form to use and some types that exist are not very useful because they are unclear and/or incomplete. The more detail you provide, the more you will be recognized as an informed consumer of medical care, and the more likely it is that your wishes will be followed.  The Canadian Medical Association directs physicians to follow living wills, and doctors have been successfully sued for not doing so.

An extensive Living Will document is obtainable on line from the University of Toronto Joint Center for Bioethics.
If you make a Representation Agreement, you may have your advance medical directive as part of the Agreement or as a separate document you would attach to it.

It is also important to remember that these documents are a form of “insurance” and may never come into effect. If you remain able to direct your own affairs and give or withhold consent to medical treatment, they will never have to be used. Having them in place, however, provides you, your family or loved ones with peace-of-mind should the need ever arise.