Rosemary and The Sweet Sound Revival will perform in a fundraising concert for the Boundary Trails Health Centre’s Palliative Care program on Feb. 23. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)
Rosemary and The Sweet Sound Revival will perform in a fundraising concert for the Boundary Trails Health Centre’s Palliative Care program on Feb. 23.
Rosemary Siemens said although she has no personal experience with the program, she’s seen first hand the dedication of staff, and was happy to lend her voice and talents to the cause.
“They do such amazing work,” she said. “The people in palliative care, I think, do probably the most important work of all. There’s probably nothing more important than that time for families, and the people that work there are there for the most crucial moments of someone’s life.”
Rosemary and the Sweet Sound Revival will play some of their old favourites, bringing bandmates from Vancouver including Jay Leonard and Sam Shoichet as well as local musicians Grace and Orlando Sukkau.
But there will also be new music included.
“We have actually put together an Andrae Crouch medley which I’m really excited to do for the first time,” she said.
That will include older gospel tunes that most people are familiar with, giving them a chance to sing along.
“For people who have been before it will not be the same show,” she said.
BTHC Foundation Executive Director Shannon Samatte-Folkett said all the money will help the palliative care program, which has a projected budget of $125,000 for 2018/19.
“Fundraising events are our way of spreading awareness to our programs and what it is that we offer, in turn raising funds to help facilitate the needs here at BTHC,” she said.
The local palliative care program stands out, and is the only one in the province to have nurses funded by the local foundation.
Palliative Care Nurse Maria Nickel said the program includes a team of people such as healthcare professionals, palliative program staff, volunteers, social workers, home care, pharmacy, pastoral care and other means of support as needed.
“The team works together to provide quality end of life care for clients and their families,” she said.
The program is crucial for people who have reached a certain stage in their illness.
“When someone is in palliative care, they’ve reached the end of the treatable period for their disease,” she said. “The disease has reached a point where the physician and the client decide they no longer want to go forward with aggressive treatment.”
Patients in the program could have a variety of diseases including cancer, lung disease, heart disease or neurological illnesses such as MS or ALS.
A drug access program (where patients can access much cheaper medications) and a home oxygen program are also part of palliative care. An equipment loan program also allows patients to spend more time at home. That program is also unique to Boundary Trails. “Having those things is a great financial help to people who we hope will be able to go home,” she said.
In fact, giving patients the comfort of home is important as well.
“We want to be able to keep them home as long as they can reasonably be there and as long as they want to be home,” she said.
While there are nine palliative care rooms at Boundary Trails, they’ve had as many as 18 patients, with some spread over other areas of the hospital.
The nine rooms have special beds, microwaves, kitchenettes, large screen TVs, windows that open and a private bathroom. They also contain enough space to allow family to spend the night.
In times when they have more patients than rooms, Nickel said the patients are still treated with the same protocol.
The feedback on the program has been exceptional.
“They feel individually cared for, they feel that their needs have been met by the one to one contact that they have with the palliative care nurses and with the volunteers,” Nickel said. “I think it’s crucial to keep that palliative care program within Boundary Trails Health Centre, active and growing.”
Nickel said those delivering the program and interacting with the patients deserve credit. “We help to build that team, to educate them and guide them, but the compassionate, caring staff who work on that unit are just beyond remarkable.”
The fundraising concert takes place Feb. 23 at the P.W Enns Centennial Concert Hall.
Tickets are $25 (plus tax and fees) and are available at www.winklerconcerthall.ca or at Winkler City Hall, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.