“Our daughter has incurable cancer. She was born in Canmore and has lived here all her life. This is her home. Why does she have to go to Calgary to die?”
Variations of this simple and plaintive question have been asked by many in the Bow Valley over the past several years. Too often, patients feel isolated and alone during the end of life care in large hospitals where their families need to travel great distances. The sadness and frustration of these families facing terminal illness have touched the hearts and minds of many concerned residents of the Bow Valley. Having a home-like venue where medical therapies can be administered surrounded by family and friends is the most dignified and respectful way for a person to deal with a terminal illness. Caring communities such as those in the Bow Valley are responding. And so began a movement to build a home for palliative and hospice care in Canmore to serve the Bow Valley of Alberta.
“You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.” – Cicely Saunders
A review of a Harris/Decima poll conducted for the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association discovered that 86% of Albertans would prefer to die at home or in the community instead of in hospital; yet depending upon location and disease, as few as 15% of people with terminal illness are able to do so. Seniors aged 65 and older, make up Canada’s fastest growing age group and will represent 25% of the population by 2036. As Canadians age, there will be more people living with chronic diseases and cancer. Currently, only 16% – 30% of Canadians have access to or receive palliative and end-of-life care services. The need for these services will only grow.
Our goal is to enable individuals and their families to receive palliative and end-of-life care close to where they call home.
The Palliative Care Society of the Bow Valley is a not-for-profit, community-led group of committed volunteers who have been working together since April 2014 to address the need to improve the end-of-life experience for individuals and their families who reside in the Bow Valley (Cochrane, Stoney Nakoda First Nation, Kananaskis Settlement, Lac des Arcs, Dead Man’s Flats, Exshaw, Canmore, Harvie Heights, Banff and Lake Louise). Our vision includes promoting collaboration throughout the Bow Valley towards ensuring availability of high-quality rural palliative and end-of-life care and the creation of a standalone palliative care house in Canmore, that would enable individuals to remain in, or close to, their community in the last days of their lives.
Please consider volunteering with us and/or making a donation. Together we are making tremendous strides!