Individuals experiencing issues such as poverty, homelessness, mental illness, and addiction face a much greater risk of life-limiting illness. In addition, disadvantaged members of society are far less likely to have the resources and support they need during such a difficult time.
It’s for this reason that The Palliative Outreach Resource Team (PORT) — was created. A partnership between Victoria Cool Aid Society, the University of Victoria, and other community partners, PORT’s team is committed to helping anyone navigate the end of life process with dignity, regardless of their circumstances.
Since its creation in 2019, the team has supported over 90 vulnerable people with life-limiting illnesses in Victoria. Led by Dr. Fraser Black and palliative care nurse Katie Leahy, PORT goes wherever patients need them — whether that’s in a tent, on the streets, or at one of Greater Victoria’s shelters. They provide direct medical care checking in on their patients’ health, helping to manage pain, and delivering medications. They also connect their clients to medical, mental health, and other supports that they might otherwise go without.
Sometimes, that means going with a patient to appointments and being their advocate when their family can’t or won’t. Sometimes, it means finding a room in a facility that has around-the-clock care. Sometimes, it means making plans to ensure a patient is as comfortable as possible when they’re dying. And sometimes, it means helping family, friends, and caregivers grieve.
“Part of what makes outreach workers so crucial, especially in a healthcare context, is that we have the tools to help address barriers and challenges, which inevitably leads to improved healthcare engagement and better outcomes,” explains Robyn Kyle, a Cool Aid Health Outreach Worker on the PORT team.
“Being able to provide transportation that accounts for a person’s mobility challenges, attending an appointment with a client to act as an advocate, phoning someone to remind them it’s time to leave for their appointment…these are all important pieces that help folks access healthcare.”
With your help, PORT serves vulnerable neighbours at every stage of their life journey. Thanks to the team’s vital work, someone who might otherwise face the end of their life alone and in pain will get the caring, compassion, comfort, and dignity they so deeply deserve.
While COVID-19 prevents Cool Aid from holding their annual Homecoming Gala and Fundraiser, generous partners have combined their support to offer $50,000 to match your donations!
From May 17-31, all donations made online, by mail, or by phone will be matched dollar for dollar. The funds will support Cool Aid’s work to help those in the community who are affected by poverty, homelessness, disability, and mental health.
Donate at coolaid.org/donate or call (250) 383-1977 today!