I read both of your letters on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) and hospice care.
As a fellow human who will be facing my own death someday and who has lost many loved ones, I would argue every person should have the option of hospice care as they are dying.
It seems to me the problem is one of resources rather than who deserves or does not deserve hospice care.
I have a large family of twelve siblings. My parents, five siblings, and several nieces and nephews have passed on, and each death has been unique.
Some have died quickly, and others have left this world slowly. My mother and three of my siblings had the blessing of hospice care in their passing.
For my loved ones and my family, hospice has helped ease the pain and suffering of death physically, emotionally and spiritually.
My sister passed away Nov. 5 at the age of 71.
She was a vibrant, generous person who loved her family and the outdoors, particularly if she was on a golf course. In February 2021, she was suddenly unable to sign her name. Within a couple of months, she struggled to walk. By the time of her death, she needed constant care with the most basic functions of eating, bathing and mobility.
It took months before she was diagnosed with a rare form of paraneoplastic cerebellar ataxia.
When there was no hope of treatment or recovery, she asked if she qualified for MAID. After meeting with a specialist and her medical team, they determined she qualified, and that she could also receive hospice care (not in Richmond).
She chose a date three months away as her death date.
Over that time, the hospice provided palliative, emotional, and spiritual care for my her and my family. The only difference between her situation and others in my family who received hospice care was that she knew she could end her life on a particular day.
She still suffered, her body was dying, and she had to let go of everyone and everything that she loved.
Since her death, I have had the good fortune of hospice counselling to help me grieve her loss. I am forever grateful.
Choosing MAID still involves a death journey that is made easier with hospice care. I hope each and every person who leaves this life slowly has the option of that support.
The waiting list for hospice is a health resource problem that needs to be addressed, but there should not be a competition for who deserves such care.
We all do.