November 29, 2006

Partnership Develops Culturally Appropriate End-of-Life "Helper" Training

New Initiative to Increase Number of Trained Aboriginal Helpers to Provide Support to End-of-Life Patients.

Hospice and Palliative Care Manitoba and the WRHA have teamed up to provide increased and more culturally appropriate training for volunteers working with individuals and families struggling with palliative care and end-of-life issues.

A community Sharing Circle will be held Thursday, November 30, 2006 that will bring together the knowledge and experiences of Elders, community members and health care professionals regarding end-of-life needs of Aboriginal people.

The project was made possible with funding assistance from the Royal Bank. The Initiative is guided by a steering committee composed of representatives from HPCM, WRHA, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and community representatives.

The Sharing Circle is a joint project between HPCM, Aboriginal Health Services-WRHA and the Aboriginal community of Winnipeg that will help inform the enrichment of existing volunteer training curriculum.  

"This Sharing Circle with Aboriginal Elders and community members is an important step in our commitment to the development of resources and training opportunities that reflect the needs and cultural realities of the Aboriginal community. This initiative once again demonstrates that great things can be achieved when Organizations and the Community work together toward our common goals," said Dr. Janice Mulder, Executive Director of HPCM. 

"We want to support the development of volunteers within the Aboriginal community by working with the WRHA and local organizations, as then we are better able to focus on addressing areas of greatest need in ways that are culturally respectful".

"This initiative emerged from a mutual interest by HPCM and the WRHA to explore the need to increase the number of trained Aboriginal volunteers who could provide valuable support services to individuals and families dealing with these issues," said Louis Sorin, Patient Advocate with WRHA Aboriginal Health Services. "The vision behind this is to have culturally sensitive training and volunteer support services available to Aboriginal communities and health care providers so that we can increase the capacity within the Aboriginal community to respond to such needs".

"I look forward to learning from the wisdom of Elders and from our community regarding the needs and approaches that need to be incorporated into future training opportunities." shared Mabel Horton, Advisor on health issues to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. "Health care professionals need to understand and appreciate our realities as Aboriginal people.  End-of-life work is an important opportunity for healing and transformative work."

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