The West Island Palliative Care Residence has been praised by many as a shining example of how to give exemplary end-of-life care and now its planning to share its expertise with the whole country.
The Montreal Institute for Palliative Care was launched Friday morning at a star-studded press conference in the downtown core.
The West Island Palliative Care Residence has helped over 3,800 people end their lives in comfort, including both parents of West Island MNA Geoff Kelley.
“Both my parents passed away in the residence, so I can talk from a direct personal experience,” Kelley told Global News.
“It’s a place of magic.”
The residence now plans to spread that magic far and wide with its new Montreal Institute for Palliative Care.
“Seventy per cent of Canadians have no access to palliative care. We need to change that,” said Teresa Dellar, executive director and co-founder of the residence.
The goal of the new institute is to share the expertise that the residence has developed over its 16-year history with people across the country.
“We can go do education and knowledge transfer and research anywhere,” said Dellar said.
“It will be housed in the West Island Palliative Care Residence, but we don’t want it to be limited there.”
Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette told the press conference the West Island institution is ahead of all other palliative care residences he has ever seen, and that its desire to help improve palliative care for people outside its walls is unprecedented.
“It’s the first time we have an organization that goes one step further, which is to share knowledge, train people and do research,” Barrette said.
“This is unheard of in Quebec and I’m sure it’s unheard of in Canada also.”
While Quebec contributes taxpayer money to the non-profit residence, the new institute is entirely financed by donors and fundraisers.
“It’s a budget of about $500,000 per year, and the money has already been raised for the next three years, so the public is not being asked to help out in any way,” Dellar said.
For her, the desire to improve palliative care in Canada and beyond is based on what is to her — an obvious principle.
“Everybody deserves to come into this world in a compassionate, loving way and everyone deserves to leave this world in a compassionate, loving way,” Dellar told Global News.