A PORT in the Storm 2: Lunch and Learn

It takes a community response to improve access to quality care for people experiencing structurally vulnerability at end-of-life (EOL). On October 27th 2016 we filled the Victoria Event Centre with representatives from the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness, AIDS Vancouver Island, City of Victoria, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, Cool Aid Society, Dandelion Society, Island Heath (representatives from population health, case management teams, RJH & VGH), Ministry of Health, Our Place Society, Pacifica Housing, SOLID, Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights Hospitaller, TAPS, University of Victoria, and Victoria Hospice.

The event began with a territory acknowledgment by James Taylor, Anishnaabe Ojibwe from Curelake First Nation and a welcome from Marianne Alto, City Counsellor. Next, Dr. Kelli Stajduhar presented preliminary findings from the Equitable Access to Care study on barriers to quality EOL care for people experiencing structural vulnerability. She focused on the key themes of: the survival imperative; desensitization to death, the normalization of dying, and the problem of identification; “unfit for palliative care;” and the silo(ing) influence of care systems and resultant navigational barriers. Finally, the Palliative Outreach Resource Team (PORT) invited people to form small groups where we talked about facilitators to quality EOL care.

Click here to view the day’s program.

The roles and experiences represented at the event were diverse and the discussions plentiful. We hope that this event provided an opportunity to network and share experiences, and that these conversations and relationships continue to develop. We look forward to moving the conversation to action with this show of interest and commitment of front line workers, managers, executive directors, and other passionate people in our community.

A special thank you to our event partners, the Palliative Outreach Resource Team (PORT) and Victoria Hospice, and our generous sponsors, the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights Hospitaller – Victoria Commandery. Thank you to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for funding the Equitable Access to Care study. Thank you to all the people who are working to make our community and world a better place.

On August 6, 2016 the Times Colonist printed the story of a medically-fragile, Indigenous man who was discharged from the Victoria General hospital with nowhere to recover from surgery except on a shelter mat or on the street after doctors removed his gallbladder. In an Op-Ed printed in the Times Colonist (August 14 2016), Dr. Kelli Stajduhar and Ashley Mollison highlight the barriers to end-of-life care for homeless people as seen in emerging findings of the Equitable Access to Care study, and promote the important work of the Palliative Outreach Resource Team (PORT) in Victoria, BC. The barriers to care that Mr. Provost has experienced including poverty, racism, and stigma, are the same barriers experienced by many of the participants in the EAC study as they approach end-of-life. Thank you to Mr. Provost for sharing his story and the outreach workers who supported him to tell his story and continue to care for many on the streets of Victoria.