The provincial government's announcement of an action plan to improve end-of-life care is being welcomed by Prince George Hospice Society executive director Donalda Carson.
"It'll help enable innovative advancements in end-of-life care in British Columbia because they're recognizing the need for all people in health care to collaborate and focus on end-of-life care," Carson said Tuesday.
On Monday, Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid released the plan, intended to guide healthcare providers through the process of primary and community care services to meet the needs of people coping with end of life, including their families and caregivers.
Northern Health is already well down the road to meeting those goals.
For the past six months, a working committee has been looking at improving palliative care throughout the whole Northern Health region.
"There's been a lot of different people from all areas of health care in Prince George - home care, facility care, doctors, hospitals, Rotary Hospice House," Carson said. "And we're coming to a point where we're developing the education pieces that are necessary."
Northern Health project lead Donna Flood said the announcement validates the work that has been done.
"Palliative care is a method of care, it's not a diagnosis. It's how we treat people and we give people dignity in dying as well as certain rights to be able to die pain free and supported and that's the direction that we're going," Flood said.
The educational pieces include giving front line workers more information on how to care for palliative patients.
"That includes symptom management, how to speak to people, how to give them the resources they need for them and their families," Flood said.
Physicians will also be given an "active support tool" to help them help their clients and Northern Health is "working really closely with the hospice," said Flood, to create better linkages.
McDiarmid also committed $2 million through the Provincial Health Services Authority to establish a Provincial Centre for Excellence in End-of Life Care - to "accelerate innovation and best practice in the field of quality care for people with life-limiting illnesses."