Dad’s death brought home the truth about palliative care

By April 8, 2014 Recent News

Calgary Herald 3 April 2014
This past week, the House of Commons spent one hour debating a motion that calls for the federal government to work with the provinces to establish a national palliative care and end-of-life strategy.
An entire hour. That’s rather disappointing given the hours dedicated to silly, unconstructive debate over internal government matters such as hirings and firings.
It appears that much of the government comment during the debate was an attempt to disconnect itself from any obligations in developing such a strategy. Fair enough, perhaps, since the feds have already prepared an in-depth parliamentary report (2011) and a major Senate report (2005). There have also been progress reports, fact sheets and $43 million dedicated to palliative care research.
We don’t need more reports or strategies — we just need action.
Taking the federal government out of the equation leaves the provinces to devise palliative care strategies that best suit their individual health networks, facilities and geography. But it can also be problematic.  With no federal incentives for change, the only way to force provincial governments to create palliative care strategies is for people to actively call for their development.
The people who have had to deal with a system that provides little assistance to families of the gravely ill have to speak out for all the families who will soon be in that situation.