Riverview Manor, Comstock-Kaye partner to make end-of-life care planning easier

Riverview Manor administrator Mary Anne Greco and Comstock-Kaye Life Celebration Centre family service counsellor Daryl Shaughnessy are pictured here on Sept. 22, during an open house at the Peterborough long-term care home.

LTC home and funeral provider working together to help residents and families with difficult discussions

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – Riverview Manor and a local funeral provider are partnering to help make difficult discussions about end-of-life wishes a little easier for the Peterborough long-term care home’s residents and their families.

Let’s face it, talking about end-of-life wishes is not a discussion people enjoy having. It can be stressful and make people feel uncomfortable.

But talking about end-of-life wishes is less stressful when people are well enough to have the discussion, say Riverview Manor administrator Mary Anne Greco and Comstock-Kaye Life Celebration Centre family service counsellor Daryl Shaughnessy.

For this reason, Riverview Manor is inviting Comstock-Kaye to participate in the home’s six-week family conferences. The conferences are hosted for new residents and their families to help with the transition of moving into a long-term care home.

Through the partnership, Comstock-Kaye provides a personal planning guide for new residents. The guide helps foster conversations about people to help others learn about their lives.

There are sections of the guide ranging from funeral service preferences to proudest family moments, proudest career achievements and fondest childhood memories, to favourite songs and favourite colours.

Mary Anne notes that this initiative also ties into OMNI Health Care’s focus on providing high-quality experiences to people living in its long-term care homes.

For the families, this process will help them avoid the stress of making difficult decisions and wondering what their loved one would have wanted, say Mary Anne and Daryl.

Daryl will be available to help residents and their families with the process of deciding end-of-life wishes and advanced care planning.

“We are trying to put a different focus on our residents coming into long-term care – from coming to us, right through the whole continuum of their time with us,” Mary Anne tells The OMNIway.

“We want to honour the person from the time they come to us. What has their life been about? What are their preferences? This ties in with the way (long-term care) is changing our advanced directives – tell us how you want your end-of-life experience to be.”

Mary Anne says there is a need to have “a different spin on the conversation around end-of-life care and advanced planning.” This partnership is aiming to meet that need, she says.

Daryl notes that people are almost always “tense” when talking about death, dying and last wishes. But once the conversation starts, he says, people typically become more comfortable.

“Not only does this make things easier on the family and (the residents), it makes it easy on (a long-term care home’s) staff, because they now know exactly what to do and what the person’s wishes are,” he says.

“It’s a better time to do this early, because people are not under stress and not under burden.”

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