Thereareapproximately9.6 million people in Canada between 46 and 65 years old. Most of these Baby
Boomers will die in the next 25 to
The reality in Canada in 2015 is
· There are too few hospital beds.
· Elderly patients are sometimes
given few compassionate care
options in their dying days.
· Canada only has 86 residential
· A shortage of palliative care beds
exists in almost all Canadian
· The House of Commons passed a
motion in 2014 calling the government to “establish a Pan-Canadian
Palliative and End-of-life Care
Strategy” ( www.theEFC.ca/M456)
What exactly is palliative care?
Dr. Camilla Zimmermann, head of
Palliative Care Services at Princess
Margaret Hospital in Toronto, says
many Canadians misunderstand
palliative care. “The big myth is if
you go to see a palliative care physician, you’ll be talking about dying.
“We believe life is
a gift from God
which should be
all of its stages.
life has inherent
of age or physical,
mental or other
abilities. Care for
the sick and the
elderly is part
of God’s call for
–Palliative Care and End
of Life Therapies, an EFC
position paper ( www.theEFC.
As the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide captures the
attention of Canadians, a national palliative care strategy still
does not exist in a country with an aging population and a
shortage of end-of-life care options
What can you do . . .
· Speak to your Member of Parliament about the need for a national
palliative care strategy.
· Investigate the options in your own community. Perhaps there is an
opportunity to volunteer in a palliative care ministry or service.
· Support the EFC’s efforts to help craft a national palliative care strategy
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these columns at www.faithtoday.ca/AtIssue.
We don’t really do that. We talk
about how we can help you with
your symptoms, your pain, your
family, helping you cope really with
what is happening, and providing
resources,” says Zimmerman. “It’s
about helping people cope with
their cancer or whatever life-threat-
ening illness they have. If they want
to talk about dying, [that’s] great, but
we don’t need to do that.”
The World Health Organization
defines palliative care as “an ap-
proach that improves the quality of
life of patients and their families
facing the problem associated with
life-threatening illness, through the
prevention and relief of suffering by
means of early identification and
impeccable assessment and treat-
ment of pain and other problems,
physical, psychosocial and spiritual”
Right now in Canada where you
live matters, says Zimmerman.
“There are different types of access
to palliative care depending on
where you live, which is not fair,
obviously. That is the reason for a
national strategy. We have to have
certain standards of care that are
applied to the whole country.” /FT
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