At the CWL 96th Annual Calgary Diocesan Convention, held at the Badlands Community Facility in Drumheller, Alberta from May 4, 5 & 6, 2018, over 150 members responded to two questions on supporting palliative care. The responses are varied and are important to share with all CWL members in the Diocese of Calgary. Some of these ideas presented are already being implemented by a council and some are planned for the future. All of our councils could consider attempting one or two, as we use this list to challenge ourselves and our councils. They are numbered, not to rank importance, but to make it easy for you to share your thoughts with others.
WAYS MY COUNCIL COULD SUPPORT HOSPICE PALLIATIVE CARE INITIATIVES IN OUR COMMUNITY:
- Prayer service for palliative persons.
- Participate on pastoral care team.
- Raise funds for palliative care.
- Take turns visiting.
- Offer a cross for a palliative care room.
- Advocate for mental health support for family.
- Donate comfort items.
- Donate personal items.
- Take sacraments to hospice.
- Offer to pray with a person when visiting.
- Pray as a council for palliative care.
- Visit and share a meal with person (if possible).
- Bring in a pet (if possible).
- Take person outside – walk or wheel around.
- Volunteer as a palliative care worker.
- Consider an annual donation to palliative care.
- Support the CWL initiative to lobby the government for better and more facilities for palliative care – write letters, send cards, participate in “12 hours of prayer for palliative care”.
- Provide spiritual support to a person – rosary, prayer cards, music, Divine Mercy Chaplet.
- Participate if the hospice in your community hosts an event for the public.
- Participate in education about palliative care (speakers, discussions, etc.) in your council, church and community
- Provide “treats” or cards of encouragement for staff of palliative care facilities, share appreciation.
- Sponsor a Mass of thanksgiving for those who serve in palliative care whether in a facility or in their homes.
- Make lap quilts or prayer shawls.
- Focus on those in care without family in the area.
- In 2’s or 3’s visit a palliative care centre.
- As a council, do a tour of a hospice (if possible).
- As a Council, make up a list of resources (211 can help) and have this list available for families with someone in palliative care or caregivers.
- We can publicly make our feelings as a large organization known.
- Speak about palliative care to family, friends, acquaintances, whenever the topic comes up. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
- Our Council makes “worry dolls” for Agape Hospice. Those are given to children as they visit either a parent or grandparent who is a patient.
Our second question, “WHAT ARE THE WAYS THAT MY COUNCIL OR INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS COULD SUPPORT THOSE IN OUR COMMUNITY WHO ARE CAREGIVERS?
- Make them aware of available services .
- Listen, Listen, Listen (many members stressed this).
- Take them out for a meal.
- Visit them.
- Bring communion.
- Help with home chores.
- Ask what their needs are and help where you can.
- Prepare a meal for the family.
- Offer to babysit if needed.
- Have tea or coffee with them.
- Take them out for coffee.
- Pray for them.
- Drive them to an appointment.
- Offer to stay with the person they are taking care of so they can do self care appointments or just so they can get out and do whatever they wish to do.
- Food donations (if needed).
- Give them prayer cards, rosary, etc.
- Send cards to cheer them.
- Take them grocery shopping and help.
- Talk to members who have been caregivers and learn from them (maybe even as a speaker).
- Help them get a special needs parking permit if they are transporting their loved one.
- If there is a financial need, help them get services.
- Do errands for them.
- Remember and pray for them at Adoration.
- Reminisce with them (if asked).
- Bring blessings from yourself, the council and others.
- Try to laugh with them.
- If appropriate, and preferably with another member present, offer touch – a hug, a cross on the forehead, holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer.
- Take the palliative care course to give caregivers a break.
Dear Sisters in the League, if you read this and think of someone on your council or someone in another council who might not have the time to read and download it, or someone who does not use a computer much, please make a copy for them (click on the printer icon just under the title on the right). Most members who completed these two questions recommended talking about these issues.
And, you have prepared a fabulous list for councils to use to check off what they have done and to perhaps try something they have never done. If you have other suggestions to add to these lists, please send them to me so we can add them.Thank you so much!
Marjorie Robinson, Spiritual Development Chair, CWL Calgary Diocesan Council