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Petitions, letters ready for legislature

Carol Dowe is trying to keep the pressure on government in her efforts to bring palliative care beds to the Parksville Qualicum Beach region.

Island Health recently announced it would fund four beds in the region by 2016, and the Oceanside Division of Family Practice-led End of Life committee continues to work on the issue, but Dowe's comments suggest she remains skeptical.

"Because we have been working on this project for over 10 years with many promises, we feel to stay active until the beds are here," Dowe wrote in e-mails this week to The NEWS. She said she is a member of an organization that's been active since 2003, Oceanside Palliative Caregivers.

"It is hard to keep the passion going for such a long period of time," Dowe wrote. "But in my heart of hearts, I know we need this service here at Oceanside so greatly by the responses from the people and the stories they have told. My purpose for continuing on is to make this a better place to have our final days with our loved ones, nearby, and the services provided by Island Health to the homes, where caregivers are hanging on, taking care of their loved ones."

Dowe said she would like to see this region get round-the-clock palliative care.

"As fine an organization as Oceanside Hospice is, they are not equipped or qualified to provide nursing respite at nighttime for the caregiver in the home," wrote Dowe. "We need help from Island Health to provide this service. Island Health says they have 24 hour nursing. What that entails is a telephone number to call in Vancouver to receive telephone advice. That is not the same as being "on call" in an emergency, and providing respite to the caregivers caring for loved ones. When your loved one is in acute pain, there needs to be a doctor or nurse "on call" available to come to the house immediately. Is that not the least Island Health can provide for us?"

Dowe asked the Town of Qualicum Beach to host a town hall meeting on the subject, but she said she was referred to the End of Life committee.

"This was done over a week ago, and we have not yet had a reply," Dowe wrote on Tuesday.

She also said she has thousands of names on a petition and plans to present that, along with letters, to MLA Michelle Stilwell in the fall when the Legislature resumes sitting.

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