I am deeply saddened, frustrated and frightened by the situation in which we find ourselves with respect to palliative care in the Strait-Richmond area.
It is especially difficult when one knows and understands, from both professional and personal experience, what could be.
We were given a gift in the return of Dr. Bob Martel to our area: a gift that provides an opportunity to transition from our present status towards greater involvement of local physicians; an opportunity to supplement the care and expertise provided by Dr. Phil Cooper and his team; an opportunity to expand the dialogue to embrace the reality that palliative care requires a community of people and an interdisciplinary, collaborative team within that community; an opportunity to embrace the leadership and education available locally to guide us to work together to achieve a standard of palliative care that meets the principles of the provincial strategy and Accreditation Canada standards for palliative care; an opportunity to learn from a natural experiment to provide data to determine how local circumstances, community support and needs affect optimal care delivery; and an opportunity to show how community, the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and Continuing Care can work together to provide evidence and to learn.
Whereas I understand there are financial constraints facing the province and NSHA, I feel this is an example of false economy. Our approach honours the strategic priorities and espoused values of the Department of Health and Wellness and NSHA. This approach also seeks equity in care, complements the health home model of practice promulgated for primary care and adapts to local realities.
Please reconsider our situation and use the serendipitous gift of Dr. Martel to achieve the outcomes we all hope for.
Dorothy R. Barnard