My brother Peter passed away September 17th, 2015 after a six-year walk with cancer and all the attendant medical treatments and interventions. I miss him deeply and my life has been well informed by his journey.
This training program is a direct result of Peter’s adventures within our medical system. It is a testament to what I noticed happening to those working in the healthcare system, especially our frontline healthcare providers who work with terminal illness.
Primarily I noticed our healthcare providers being swamped by the seas of emotion that accompany terminal illness, active dying and death.
Secondly, I noticed that there is often nowhere to go within the structure of the system for support. Yes there are EAP programs, yet within the very organization where folks work there seems to be a void – a lack of compassion in a way for the real, raw, natural emotional response our healthcare providers have when a patient of ‘theirs’ dies.
Thirdly, I noticed a lack of self-care and training regarding dying, death and grief that our healthcare staff experience simply by working in the system and a growing tendency to self-medicate though it is not openly acknowledged within the system.
In my chats with nurses from Halifax to Vancouver; from Toronto to Grand Prairie; and from Prince Rupert to Calgary and everywhere in between the same theme rang true. There is a lack of training to both prepare healthcare providers for the real human experience of dying, death, and grief and to support our very important staff with great self-care tools and practices.
I feel a profound sense of responsibility to help provide our healthcare staff with the knowledge, tools, and techniques in order that they be prepared for the significant increase in deaths that our baby boomer generation represents – that they be equipped with all they need to have long, fulfilling, and healthy careers.
The healthcare providers that cared lovingly and diligently for my brother over his six-year journey with cancer deserve only the very best we can offer them when it comes to end of life training. From the gratitude I feel in my heart for their service Alive in Death Training for Healthcare Providers was born.
For more information: aliveindeath.ca