Gift-giving that makes a difference…

The Wood Buffalo Primary Care facility in Fort MacMurray, Alberta, has put in place an equipment borrowing program for palliative patients and their loved ones. Upon referral, patients and families can access the resource center, where a variety of equipment is available free of charge, and for an indefinite period.

The reason why I found this interesting is that when people think about palliative care, they tend to think mostly about medications. Obviously treating symptoms pharmaceutically is an important component of what we do, but there are many other dimensions involved that are often overlooked or misunderstood by the public—and the role of specialized equipment is one of them.

When someone is being cared for at home, specialized equipment becomes incredibly important. Things like bath aids, railings, grabbers, and soft blankets are essential to ensuring the comfort of someone who is sick. But of course, these supplies are costly and it’s not a cost that should be borne by patients or families during this difficult time. Many programs across the country provide these tools, but it’s something that is perpetually in demand. So as the season approaches where many of us are donating to the myriad worthwhile charities, please consider your local palliative care center. Your gifts will help bring comfort to those who need it most.

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Celebrating life, in all its furry forms

Cole and his service Dog, Bingo. Photo credit to the Bingo Hein Facebook page.

I’m a tried and true animal lover—my dog Chase is an amazing companion and, as I mentioned before, is an incredible stress reliever for me.

And as anyone who’s had a pet in their life can attest, they quickly become members of the family—so much so that when they become ill it can be almost as devastating as when faced with the illness of a loved one. So it makes sense that as we learn more about the care and treatment of animals from a medical perspective, we also advance our understanding of their end-of-life needs. This fascinating article details just exactly how some veterinarians are doing just that.

As the article points out, a lot of animals that receive terminal diagnoses have lots of time remaining in their lives, with lots of wonderful moments to be shared with their families. And just as the goal of human palliative care ensure that a patient has the highest quality of life possible and help them to celebrate the impact their lives have on others, so too can we do the same for the companion animals who’ve done so much for us.

I was especially moved by this piece on a Manitoba boy who created a Lick-it List for his ailing service dog. Sadly Bingo passed away on September 14th, but what a beautiful gift his family and strangers from all around the world gave them all. Talk about honouring that furry, but no less special, life.