While hospice providers across the U.S. push the anti-Life agenda of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, a nonprofit in Canada is trailblazing a more life-affirming alternative.
Hospice is designed to help alleviate the pain and symptoms of a patient nearing the end of life due to a terminal illness. Hospice measures should help patients to the greatest extent possible, but are never supposed to hasten death.
Delta Hospice Society (DHS) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Delta, British Columbia. While advocating for life-affirming palliative care across the nation, DHS provides resources, free consultations, and professional counseling to callers across Canada who are grappling with end-of-life matters.
In 2010, the nonprofit founded a 10-bed hospice in Delta. Because DHS refused to euthanize their patients, Fraser Health, one of Canada’s publicly funded health authorities, shut down DHS’ life-affirming operations last year. Now, DHS plans to open a new privately-funded euthanasia-free hospice center.
Why is a healthcare facility like DHS needed?
For many families, hospice is the path of choice for their loved one. Tragically, the hospice care services in hospitals are not always what they seem.
The phrase most often associated with hospice services is the illusory term “comfort care.” In theory, “comfort care” entails the ideal end-of-life scenario in which a dying patient is given every comfort in his or her final hours. The goal of this is for the patient to experience minimal pain but maximum consciousness.
In theory, the purpose of hospice is to aid patients in the final stages of an illness, but not to be the instigator of death. In reality, “comfort care” is often a euphemism for the excessive use of opioids and other medications.
Enter Delta Hospice Society. The Canadian non-profit is looking for a life-affirming middle ground: a way to provide end-of-life care without sacrificing the patient’s Right to Life by not hastening death. This project will take the form of a privately-owned and privately-funded “hospice sanctuary,” free from euthanasia and government coercion.
DHS recognizes the great need for Pro-Life patient care in Canada. The country is far from being an exemplar of Pro-Life ethics or life-affirming healthcare. In 2016, Canada’s Medical Aid in Dying (MaiD) law legalized medical euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide throughout the nation.
Earlier this year, a church in Manitoba proudly permitted a woman to commit physician-assisted suicide within its walls. This tragic event is evidence of a fallen world. The sanctity of human Life itself is devalued by surrendering to the idea that a life with sickness and pain is simply not worth living.
Julie Grimstad, a Delta Hospice Society member and President of Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization (HALO), explained DHS’ strong stance against anti-Life programs like MaiD. Grimstad wrote,
“It is critical that those of us who oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide identify and support healthcare providers who refuse to kill. This victory for the Delta Hospice Society is a victory for each of us who strives and prays for the restoration of reverence for life in every facet of healthcare.”
What an encouragement it is to witness a Pro-Life community thrive in the midst of a nation with radically anti-Life policies. As we enter a world without Roe, we must continue to extend our care and defense of the sick and elderly by fostering life-affirming healthcare in our states and across the world.