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Workshops explore end-of-life issues

Sunshine Coast Hospice Society

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). Caregiving. Caring for self. Compassion fatigue. These are all issues we are grappling with right now or soon, when someone close to us is living into the end of their days.

“We know how challenging it is to face end-of-life conversations and how exhausted you can get caring for the ones close to you,” said Denis Fafard, president of the Sunshine Coast Hospice Society.

That’s why Coast Hospice is hosting a day of workshops, Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Roberts Creek Elementary School, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. as part of their 30th anniversary of providing support on the Coast.

“MAiD is relatively new and there’s still so much to learn. Would this be an option for ourselves or a loved one? This is a singular opportunity to discuss the choice with people with experience,” Fafard said.

In the morning session, Dr. Sara Wadge, a palliative care doctor on the Coast, and Darren Kopetsky, a regional director with Vancouver Coastal Health, will walk participants through how MAiD works and who is eligible to access MAiD.

Caregiving at the end of life affects everyone, and two community members who have experienced being a caregiver, Rob Todrick and Vicki Dobbyn, will share their insights on Saturday afternoon. As well, Dr. Eddie Berinstein, a palliative care doctor and instructor in mindfulness-based stress reduction, and Dr. Romayne Gallagher, former head of the division of palliative care at Providence Health Care and chair of the Doctors of B.C. Geriatrics and Palliative Care Committee, will share strategies from a lifetime of caring for patients who are palliative.

Self-care is essential when you are caring for another, and there are two workshops to encourage re-energizing. Heather Conn, journalist and oral historian, will introduce participants to expressing their inner self through SoulCollage, and Shelley Harrison Rae, an expressive arts facilitator, will encourage participants to develop self-care through a variety of modalities.

Space is limited. Please register at or phone 604-740-0475. The cost is $20, payable at the door.

For more information about Coast Hospice, see

The event is sponsored by Town of Gibsons, Sunshine Coast Regional District, Coast Reporter, and PDM Construction Ltd.

– Submitted by Bernadette Richards