It is human nature not to talk about death or terminal illness. But eventually, it is something we all end up facing.
Over the last three years our family has twice been stricken with parents who have had terminal illness. The shock of terminal illness and end of life always leads to the question, what now? Our mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2014, and as a family we did not know where to turn. After numerous discussions with health professionals it was determined that the best care for her was through the Penticton &District Palliative Care Program.
It was not long after those discussions that she was enrolled in the program and admitted to the Moog and Friends Hospice in Penticton. My mother was extremely hesitant in going to the hospice, but finally agreed after much coaxing from the family.
Our first few visits to the hospice were very guarded as our belief was that this was a place where people went to die. How wrong we were! The hospice was a place where patients went to live out their lives in an amazing, warm, caring and dignified setting where not only the patient, but the family’s needs were taken care of. The entire staff, from the nurses, care aides, doctors, and remarkable volunteers provide an environment that made the palliative care program a journey that was shared together as a family with support the entire way. Truly remarkable!
Our father became ill in the summer of 2016 and knowing what we did after our mother’s end of life experience, we enrolled dad into the program early and knew exactly where to take him when we were unable to provide home care. Knowing and understanding the palliative care program made the entire process more comfortable for our entire family, especially our father. Many people also believe that once a person enters hospice, they never leave. This again was untrue as we took our father on outings several times.
Having Moog and Friends Hospice House in our own backyard is truly a blessing as this allowed us to spend quality time with our parents rather then having to travel long distances to see them. The palliative care program is one that most Canadians will use at some point in their lives and it is imperative that we support, grow, educate, and familiarize ourselves with this extremely important program.