The Winnipeg Foundation Grant opened eyes for participants and presenters 

News & Updates | June 19, 2024 | The Winnipeg Chapter of Dying With Dignity Canada

Home / News & Updates / The Winnipeg Foundation Grant opened eyes for participants and presenters 

The Winnipeg Chapter of Dying With Dignity requested a grant from the Winnipeg Foundation to host five Advance Care Planning presentations for people in low-income or marginalized communities. These presentations took place between the fall of 2022 and the spring of 2024. The money we received allowed us to provide a basic healthy lunch, refreshments, and all the printed materials. In the end, we were able to host 6 events. 

Members of these communities often have little to no knowledge of patient rights or expectations for end-of-life care. These presentations invited participants to think about and express their wishes for health care and treatment in a medical emergency and at the end of life. Our intention was to encourage participants to have conversations about this topic with their loved ones and their health care providers, and to document their wishes in a Health Care Directive. 

Two of our events were held at Deaf Centre Manitoba. We did not realize the amount of support that members of the Deaf and Deaf-Blind communities would require. Prior to the presentations, we believed that all members of the Deaf community would be able to read the online resources and handouts, and that American Sign Language (ASL) was only for speech – but that is wrong. We learned that ASL has its own structure and grammar, and that the interpreters are not just translating spoken English.  

For many who attended, ASL is their first language, and for some it is their only language. Not everyone is fluent in written English, so written information and closed captioning does not replace ASL. Needless to say, people who identify as Deaf-Blind require even more assistance. When our volunteers spoke to some of them after the presentation, it immediately became obvious how much this information was needed. We were very pleased to have made a difference for a few people, albeit a small one.  

Presentations were also held at local community centres in less affluent areas of the city. Many of these groups have very limited budgets, and many attendees do not have regular access to computers, or they lack the technological abilities to access and use online resources.  

In very marginalized communities, people often struggle just to meet their basic needs. They have little or no time or energy to think ahead to future medical care. Our presentation not only helped them gain a bit of knowledge but also gave them a hearty lunch; some of the attendees were genuinely hungry. 

We are glad that we were able to bring this presentation to these communities, as there is little doubt that many would not have had the means or ability to travel elsewhere in the city to attend one of our public presentations.  

We are grateful to the Winnipeg Foundation for giving us the opportunity to not only serve the people of these communities, but to educate ourselves in how best to provide services to people who are so often overlooked.  

We are hoping to continue this work and will be applying for another grant to continue this vital service. Without the Winnipeg Foundation we would not have been able to help even a small portion of this vulnerable population. 

Thank you from the Winnipeg Chapter ACP team.  

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