NICCCS PHOTO Instructor Tama Recker, Debbie Klatt, Pita Rosback, Sue Wiedenman, Vanessa Roach, Darlene Snowdon, Susan Emerson, Helen Gurney, missing from photo: Dolores Sanderson and Pat MacDonald.

Volunteers offer support for those needing end-of-life care

NICCCS graduates provide palliative care and bereavement services

Nine North Island women have graduated from training that will enable them to help those preparing for the end of life.

North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre Society (NICCCS) recently offered a hospice palliative care and bereavement training course to a mix of new and experienced volunteers from Port Hardy and Port McNeill.

“At times we or someone we care about may be affected by a life-threatening diagnosis or need to prepare for end of life and yet we aren’t always comfortable to talk about it,” read an No. 23 NICCCS press release.

“If diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, going through cancer treatment, nearing end of life, or grieving the loss of a loved one, we don’t know where to turn for support,” it explains.

Tama Recker, who has 18 years experience in end of life care, facilitated the 30-hour training program.

The volunteers now meet the requirements set out by the BC Hospice and Palliative Care Association, enabling them to work with hospice patients and their families.

“Say if you are in the hospital for a terminal disease or your last wishes are to die at home, this is a volunteer person who will come and sit with the person or the family members,” said NICCCS’s Vanessa Roach.

Roach said the program is beneficial in a variety of ways.

“Sometimes a person will open up more to a hospice volunteer than a doctor they only see every few days,” she said, adding “some of the volunteers are trained in the grief process, so one of the ladies would go and see the family on a regular basis or when they would want to be seen.”

Volunteers have actually been providing hospice and bereavement services on the North Island since the beginning of 2015, but Roach noted the service isn’t very well known.

“It’s still very new to the North Island and I don’t think a lot of people know about it,” said Roach, adding “it’s huge in Campbell River, Nanaimo, and Victoria.”

There is no cost for using the hospice bereavement services and it is available throughout the Mount Waddington region.

“I think it’s very valuable just because we are so remote,” said Roach, adding “if you have lost a loved one you know it’s not an easy process.”

To find out more about hospice and bereavement services contact the North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre at 250-949-8333 or email vanessar@nicccs.org.

Referral forms are also available at clinics and hospitals throughout the region.

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