“If you want something moved, move it” is a quote I hear in my mind quite often. Moving mountains is not the easiest thing in the world, but mountains we are moving. Finally, after three long years of lockdown our Home Hospice Association Chapters are on the move and growing.
What is a Chapter? A Chapter is a group of people who are passionate about moving the mountain of providing equitable access to end-of-life care in the community where they live, work and love. Who are these group(s) of people? People just like me and you, who want to turn passion into action and help to open doors and make care happen for those facing death and those who love them, including their pets.
Over the past few months, we have been confirming our Chapter Champions
and Chapter Leadership in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario; we are hoping the east coast will also begin to grow very soon. To keep up to date on our Chapters and how they are growing check out our Chapter Page! Link;https://www.homehospiceassociation.com/community-chapters
What happens when a Chapter first starts? Our new Champion joins other Chapter Champions to collectively and collaboratively work on outreach projects that all Chapters begin with. The projects are worked on both in the early days and as the chapter grows and becomes more engaged. The four Chapter outreach projects are:
Pre and Perinatal Hospice: paying particular attention to the Our Babies, Our Grief Progressive Healing Group and working with each Chapter’s “City Hall” to have October 15 of each year proclaimed as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day
Moonlit Memory Walk: the way we begin to raise funds to do work in the community (Chapter) and to provide a significant event to honour lives in a safe, open, and bias-free environment.
Who becomes a Chapter Champion or a member of the Chapter’s Board? Our largest number of members come from our professional caregiving people (Death Doulas and Infant & Pregnancy Loss Doulas). When someone is building a professional service business, they find their effort expended in five key areas: marketing (“sales”), networking, community outreach / engagement, pro-bono work, paid work. Becoming a leader for HHA in a community means that they are the “face” of the organization - the ambassador. Being the most recognizable HHA Doulas in a community supports all areas of developing a professional service business; most significantly, networking and community outreach / engagement which effectively helps to opens the doors to the other key areas.
How does a Chapter grow and offer front line support to the dying members of a community and their loved ones (including their pets)? Once a Chapter is running, the local board (leadership) will often identify a population they feel represents the largest gap(s) in care and determines ways to help provide end-of-life support to that population. For example, our Home Hospice Eastern Ontario Chapter has made the commitment to serve the houseless, street involved, and house-displaced population. https://www.homehospiceassociation.com/pilot-projects/houseless-hospice
This decision influences the outreach and engagement work that the local board / leadership will engage in. Having a single goal to work towards is the best way to establish a sustainable Chapter and as the care for the population grows and the gaps are filled, these relationships open doors to more opportunities.
Perhaps this overview and answers to some of our most frequently asked questions has inspired you to become involved in your community – if so, we would love to hear from you! If you are interested in starting a Chapter please click here: https://www.homehospiceassociation.com/start-a-chapter if you would like to become a leader / ambassador for a Chapter – please click here: https://www.homehospiceassociation.com/volunteer
Remember, if you want something moved, you must move it! To change the alarming statistics that represent how inaccessible end-of-life care is in our country we need you! We can help you to be part of the change in your community – together, we can make a difference and grow the case for Death Doula and Infant & Pregnancy Loss Doulas being paid members of every professional caregiving environment. Today it may feel like making that a reality is like trying to push a boulder uphill. Let’s remember that the more of us who are pushing it uphill, the faster it will move, and once it is at the top … the boulder will gain momentum beyond our collective strength and result in SUCCESS.