HPCO closes 2018 with gratitude
News from Hospice Palliative Care Ontario:
HPCO closes 2018 with gratitude for the unique and successful partnership we have cultivated with the Government of Ontario
We started the year working hard to tell our story during pre-budget consultations. The Spring Budget brought a permanent capital fund to support communities in building residential hospices, a new hospice for the homeless program, and a peri-natal hospice program. 2018 was also busy with ongoing work with the Ontario Palliative Care Network to identify ways to improve equitable access to quality hospice care throughout Ontario.
The election in June brought a new Government and 73 new faces in the Ontario Legislature. That meant a huge effort to connect with and educate all our new and returning MPPs about hospice palliative care, what has been accomplished and what we still need to do.
This effort culminated in our Queen’s Park Day and over 50 meetings with MPPs and Ministers, and the now popular photo op with the Elephant in the Room. Our teams who met with MPPs were impressed with the engagement and understanding as well as the support for our story and our business case – quality desirable care that helps people stay home or in the community and out of hospitals and their hallways, and supports family caregivers as well.
As always, our MPP Day was cosponsored by MPPs from all parties, and this year that meant four parties, as Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner threw his support behind our event, along with NDP Health Critic France Gélinas, Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser, and our lead sponsor Parliamentary Assistant Triantafilopoulos.
Because of the fiscal challenges identified by the Government, there had been much concern in the sector as to whether projects planned and underway would still receive Government support. On December 10th, the Minister of Health and Long Term, Christine Elliott arrived at Carpenter Hospice in Burlington to announce the news we have all hoped for and worked so hard to earn. A strongly worded commitment to community based hospice palliative care, a fulsome understanding of its benefits, and confirmation that funding would flow to build and help operate 193 residential hospice beds, which are now in development and construction.
In 2019, we will continue to work with the Government to help create sufficient access to hospice palliative care in all care settings, underscoring the important role of visiting hospice services, and helping people meet the end of life with comfort, dignity and meaning.
Thank you to everyone on the front lines for everything you do each and every minute to help people live well to the end of natural life, to provide support and solace to family members, and to make our province a leader in quality hospice palliative care.