Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov has spent a career trying to get a better understanding of dying, and he has become a world leader in the subject.
Okanagan residents next week will have a chance to hear from him and then discuss the topic afterwards if they so choose.
The distinguished University of Manitoba psychiatry professor will deliver a free presentation twice on April 8: one in West Kelowna and the other in Kelowna. The title of his speech is called Death, Dying and Dignity: Challenges and Opportunities in End-of-Life Care. The Central Okanagan Hospice Association is co-ordinating the two lectures, which are sponsored by the Dorothy Mills Fund, and a question-and-answer session will be held at the end of both presentations.
“I’ve done a large body of research that has really tried to explore and understand some of the psychological issues that dying patients and their families are facing towards the end of life,” Dr. Chochinov says. “So I’m going to be coming to Kelowna to share some of that experience and share some of that work.
“We’ve been able to generate data that has helped us understand: What are the things that are important to patients near the end of life? Are there ways of being able to track those things, measure those things and to even influence those things?”
There will likely never be a more qualified person to speak about palliative care in the Okanagan than Dr. Chochinov. He is an officer in the Order of Canada, he has received the Order of Manitoba, has held the first Canada research chair in palliative care, he is the founder of the Canadian Virtual Hospice, and he has been published by Oxford University.
In other words, if anyone can help better understand the often heartbreaking issue of end of life, it’s Dr. Chochinov.
“One of the things, for example, that we’ve developed as a result of our work has been a specific psychological intervention that has helped patients try and achieve a sense of meaning and purpose towards the end of their life, creating a sense of legacy they can leave behind for loved ones,” he says. “Those are things I wouldn’t necessarily have anticipated at the outset when I first embarked in this field.
“So certainly the journey for me has been one of being educated, being humbled and hopefully becoming more insightful about the things that are important to patients as they approach the end of life.”
Those who are dealing with end-of-life issues will no doubt be interested in attending Dr. Chochinov’s lectures, but he said they would be interesting to another group of people as well.
“Only those,” he says, “who are mortal.”
Dr. Chochinov’s first lecture will take place at Westbank Lions Community Hall in West Kelowna on Monday, April 8, at 1:30 p.m., and the second one is slated for Coast Capri Hotel in Kelowna at 6:30 p.m. For more information about the Central Okanagan Hospice Association and this event, visit hospicecoha.org.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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