In December of 2016, the GNWT Department of Health and Social Services, specifically the Seniors and Continuing Care Services Division, approached the NWT Seniors’ Society with an offer to work collaboratively with them and other key stakeholders to learn more about the advance care directions and palliative care wishes of older adults in the NWT.
This project touched on common and consistent issues in palliative care that have been identified previously on several occasions such as the goals of care, tools to facilitate this for clients and service providers, as well as involvement of stakeholders so tools meet needs.
In early 2017, the NWT Seniors’ Society met again with members of the Department of Health and Social Services. At this meeting, it was determined that the Department of Health and Social Services in collaboration with the NWT Seniors Society would establish the ‘Getting to Know Me: Aging in Place Working Group’ involving approximately 10 members from a variety of stakeholder fields.
The focus of the Working Group’s work would be to create a guiding document based on best practices and NWT residents/service providers input to be used by policy makers for future palliative care enhancement initiatives in the NWT.
To help inform the document, a scan of palliative care best practices with a focus on Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and previous work conducted in the NWT was conducted, and a focus group held on January 16th , 2018, in Yellowknife. The NWT Seniors’ Society hosted this conversation with a cross section of 30 NWT older adults and stakeholders. Older adults, selected regional healthcare managers, healthcare providers, and invited stakeholders shared their insights and wisdom and listened to the diverse perspectives resulting in a balanced, supportive and respectful conversation regarding the enhancement of palliative care in the NWT.
Information collected from the focus group was compiled and used to create the Working Group’s guiding document entitled, ‘Honouring Wisdom: A Continuing Conversation About Palliative Care in the NWT’. This document was submitted to the Department of Health and Social Services, specifically the Seniors and Continuing Care Services Division, in March 2018.
The NWT Seniors’ Society would like to thank all the individuals and organizations which assisted in this endeavour. The enthusiasm and collaboration demonstrated by all parties throughout this process were greatly appreciated as they created a positive atmosphere which led to productive and useful discussions and products related to a difficult and important topic. We look forward to continuing on with you all in this work in the future.