The Castlegar Hospice Society is kicking off National Hospice Palliative Care Week with a presentation from a nationally-recognized palliative care expert.
Dr. Harvey Chochinov is a distinguished professor of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and the director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit at CancerCare. He holds the only Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care and is the panel chair of the external panel reporting to the Supreme Court of Canada on doctor assisted death.
“It’s a huge coup for us to have him in the area for us. We’re really excited and expecting hundreds of people to come out from all over the region,” says Suzanne Lehbauer, executive director of Castlegar Hospice Society.
To help mark National Hospice Palliative Care Week, which runs May 1-7, Dr. Chochinov will give a talk called Creating Compassionate Communities: Dignity at the End-of-Life on Monday, May 2 at 7 p.m. at the Castlegar Complex. Admission will be by donation.
The week is meant to raise awareness for hospice palliative care services and all of the hospice workers, including the volunteer workers, who work in palliative care.
“Also, we want to send a message out to the government that we need to get equitable funding for hospice services,” says Lehbauer.
The talk isn’t the only event the Castlegar Hospice Society is holding to mark the week.
On Sunday, May 1, the society will hold its annual Hike for Hospice event at 11 a.m. at Kinsmen Park. Registration is at 10:30 a.m. and there will be two different hikes to choose from.
“A shorter one for those who just want to participate, but can’t go a longer distance and one that’s a little bit longer that goes down to Millennium Park, through the park and back up to Kinsmen,” explained Lebhauer.
The Lions Club will also be selling hot dogs for weary hikers, as well as spectators.
Pledge sheets and registration forms can be found at castlegarhospice.org.
To finish off the week, the society will be holding a Mother’s Day Celebration on Friday, May 6, 7-10 p.m. at the Sandman Hotel in Castlegar.
“It’s a ladies only evening,” says Lehbauer. “We’re going to have Columbia Winery and Nelson Brewery coming in with Doodlebug Chocolates, and they’re going to be giving demonstrations on how to pair wine and beer with chocolates and cheese.”
Tickets are $25 per person and are available at the Castlegar Hospice Society office in the Castlegar Health Centre.