Palliative care: changing the end-of-life discussion

For the Burnaby Hospice Society, it’s been a life-long challenge to try and change the discussion around end-of-life care within the Burnaby community.

“We understand that everyone in the world today is chasing youth—that in the moment, we tend to think we will live forever,” says Liina McNeil, the counsellor at Burnaby Hospice Society. “We’re trying to show people that if they can understand their predicament, they can deal with it better.”

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In its 30 years of service in the not-for-profit sector, Burnaby Hospice Society has helped thousands of families in the local community through the end-of-life journey, supporting individuals in palliative, hospice or bereaved states along the way.

But for Burnaby Hospice Society, the biggest challenge rests not in helping families overcome grief but in seeing people take the first step, says McNeil.

“Quite often people are too shy to ask for help,” says McNeil, who is quick to point out that Burnaby Hospice Society’s new seed grant initiative, made possible by the BC Centre for Palliative Care, is designed to educate families on the end-of-life process.

“When things change,” she says, “we end up juggling a lot of different feelings and needs. And because it’s typically our first time having to deal with something like this, we’re completely unskilled at it.”

According to McNeil, the best thing to do in that situation is to talk about it and ask for help.

“Just do it,” she says to anyone who is thinking of reaching out. “There are others who have been through the end-of-life process before—and they can help.”

To learn more about Burnaby Hospice Society drop by their location at 4535 Kingsway, Burnaby, visit their website, send an email or call directly at 604-520-5087. You can also find Burnaby Hospice Society on Facebook.

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