Dr. Louise Coulombe encourages palliative care for our area

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by Glenda Jones

Dr. Louise Coulombe

More than forty people turned out on December 13 to hear Dr. Louise Coulombe, a respected palliative care physician in Ottawa describe her extensive practice with hospice care and the difference it is making in people’s lives.

The evening was sponsored by the Hub Hospice Palliative Care as an opportunity to learn more about the value of such a service in our area.  Dr. Coulombe confirmed that while most people want to die at home, the process demands a team approach which involves the medical profession, family, and volunteers all supporting each other and the client.

She shared her 16 year knowledge base of the signs of failure in clients’ health, and how simply knowing the various stages in the dying progression will allow some degree of confidence for both patients and their families.  She has learned from her patients that the family and the support system are the  keys to assisting her patients remain in the comfort of their own homes to die. Dr. Coulombe’s compassion was obvious as she described the journeys she has helped, both in her own family, and with others.

The audience was encouraged when she said that a hospice programme is community driven and develops as needs arise in the community.  By establishing the in-home volunteer service as is being done now, the community will recognize the value, and look for even more services in the future. The team approach will develop as other segments of the community are brought on board to assist.

Dr. Coulombe’s enthusiasm for her practice was evident in her desire to share the hospice philosophy with others.  She believes that the Hub Hospice Palliative Care project will go far in making the lives of our community richer, both in having the service available, and in fostering hospice philosophy in the health care system as a whole.

In introducing Dr. Coulombe, Board Chair Christine Bois described the project the Hub is undertaking and introduced the steering committee, including Julia Thomas, the initiator of the project. Mrs. Bois said that the volunteer coordinator job application will be forthcoming in early January, and the board hopes that by April volunteer training will be underway, with the service available to clients in late summer 2013.

The Board was grateful to receive several donations at the presentation, both from audience members and also from the Retired Teachers Association. Nancy Giardino presented the cheque to Christine Bois on behalf of the teachers.