Penticton Bereavement Resource Centre hosts session on advance care planning

Panel will discuss end-of-life issues Wednesday at Leisure Centre

Death is not something most people like to talk or even think about, let alone plan for.

But letting loved ones know your wishes now can be crucial for advance care, including medical intervention and end-of-life arrangements.

This is especially true if the sick or injured person is unable to speak for themselves at that time.

Issues surrounding the process will be discussed Wednesday at a special presentation by Interior Health and the Penticton & District Hospice Society and Bereavement Resource Centre.

“We’re encouraging people to think ahead and be prepared,” said society board member Laurie Sylvester. “Advance-care planning is a gift to your family and loved ones because it takes the guess work out of the picture if you’re ever in a position where you cannot speak for yourself.”

The program will be moderated by Judy Nicol, leader of Interior Health’s Advance Care Planning Initiative.

The session takes place at 3 p.m. at the Penticton & District Society for Community Living Leisure Centre, at 439 Winnipeg St., and will include a panel discussion by health-care professionals who will also be available to answer questions.

This is another in a series of events organized by the hospice society as part of the National Hospice Palliative Care Week that began last month and has continued through into June.

Among the special events was last weekend’s Ended Beginnings ceremony at the Everden Rust Chapel for parents who have lost children. Nearly 20 people attended to remember their loved ones, and organizers are hoping to make it an annual event.

The Penticton and District Hospice Society works with the Moog & Friends Hospice House and recently opened the Bereavement Resource Centre to provide support and training opportunities for those wishing to volunteer in hospice and/ or community palliative care opportunities.

Board chairman Bill Everden feels it is important to talk about the issues relating to end-of-life matters.

“When people get to a certain age people should think about their wishes, not only for funerals but for medical things as far as non resuscitation orders and things like that,” he said. “Discussions with their physicians and their families so everyone is aware of what their wishes are, especially because if things aren’t discussed ahead of time our laws are set up in a way a certain protocol has to be followed.”

He added it can save an enormous amount on stress on everyone at a time when things are difficult enough.

“When people have talked about it openly with their family it just makes everything so much better for everybody, and it’s much easier to talk about it when the need isn’t there,” said the board chair.

Research indicates that people who have end-of-life planning conversations are more likely to be satisfied with their care, require fewer aggressive interventions at the end of life, place less of a strain on caregivers and are likely to take advantage of hospice resources or die at home.

The bereavement centre has a wide range of materials to help with a wide range of subjects relating to end-of-life topics