A compassionate Ottawa supports and empowers individuals, their families and their communities throughout life for dying and grieving well.

New Ottawa program aims to help people live well at the end of their lives

by Elizabeth Payne

Although she cared for her sick husband for three years, Claudia Chowaniec admits she was in a “state of denial” that his death was imminent until the last few weeks of his life.

When he told her he wanted to die at home, she was wary. “I was afraid and exhausted. Time was short. I needed a crash course.”

Determined to grant his wish, she made arrangements for him to come home from the hospital. Once she did, everything changed, she said Wednesday at the launch of a program to better support people in the community who are facing death.

A palliative care doctor came to their home every day to administer pain medication and help answer questions and allay fears. Equally as important, friends and neighbours began coming by with food and comfort.

“I wasn’t isolated and on my own as I had been at the hospital for so many months. Our community was there all along.”

Chowaniec, who volunteers with Compassionate Ottawa, was among the speakers at the launch of the Healthy End of Life Project (HELP).

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