The children of the late Marie Elizabeth Cole are speaking out about the lack of palliative care services in the Strait area, after their mother spent the last five days of her life on a stretcher in the Strait Richmond Hospital emergency room. Mrs. Cole died on March 7th after a four-month battle with terminal cancer.
Cape Breton-Richmond MLA Alana Paon wants answers from the Minister of Health, Randy Delorey about what he is doing to improve services for palliative care patients in the Strait area.
Yesterday, five of Mrs. Cole’s six children: Catherine Warner, Nancy Day, Robert Cole, Beryl Boudreau and Michelle Cole attended the legislature to hear the Minister’s response. Her other daughter Linda Boudreau was unavailable today but is fully supportive of her siblings’ fight for better services. The six children have written a letter to the Premier and the Minister (attached) so their voices can be heard.
“To honour our mother, we will continue to fight for those who are voiceless,” says Nancy Day, Mrs. Cole’s daughter. “We will not stand for the government making excuses. What our poor mother had to go through at the end of her life is completely unacceptable.”
In her final days, Mrs. Cole was bounced from one emergency room bed to the next, with no privacy or dignity in her dying moments. There was no place for her family to rest in the busy emergency room, so they slept on the floor.
“Without privacy, other patients, families and staff had to witness some very raw emotions during our mother’s final breath,” says Day. “How can the Premier and Minister stand before Nova Scotians and tell them our health care system is not in crisis?”
Paon wants to see designated palliative care beds in the Strait area. The closest ones are in either Sydney or Antigonish.
“There are no dedicated palliative care beds in the Strait area. We need a designated space where families can be with their loved ones and properly grieve in those final moments,” says Paon. “There is no dignity in this. It’s completely unfair to the patients, to the families and to the hard-working staff, who are just trying to do their jobs. We deserve better from the McNeil government.”
Paon has been a champion of better palliative care services in the Strait area. Last week, she raised the story of Danny Latimer, who was being bounced from one emergency room bed to the next, until she raised the issue in the House and he finally received a proper hospital bed. He passed away last Thursday morning.
Paon wants to see a time where she does not have to raise people’s stories publicly, just to get action from this government.