Loree Moores loved spending summers at her cottage. But in 1996, she was diagnosed with cancer.

As her health deteriorated, she moved in with her son. At the start of her last summer, she and her family assumed that the 33-year tradition of summers at the cottage would have to be broken. But Loree Moores had a palliative care team. These health care professionals consulted with Loree and her family and overcame the obstacles. The cottage was transformed into a small hospital, and Loree was able to spend her summer there.

Even though she was ill, she was able to hear the call of the loons and the sound of the water. Her children and grandchildren and many of her friends came to visit her in her beloved surroundings. Loree passed away a couple of weeks after she came back home, but she hadn’t missed a year at the cottage in the last 34 years of her life.

MPP Bob Wood (PC, London South) told Loree’s story in the Ontario legislature on Oct. 15, 1998. Wood was proposing a Patients’ Bill of Rights and the establishment of a palliative care task force to ensure that all Ontario citizens could benefit from the high quality of palliative care which Loree Moores was fortunate enough to enjoy.

Wood noted that hospice palliative care has made great strides in the past 30 years and that London, Toronto, Ottawa, and Kingston enjoy “integrated palliative care.” But he wants such state-of-the-art care available across the province. He said he hopes the task force would “fully implement an effective hospice palliative care bill of rights.”

Wood said he hopes the proposed task force would consider “setting reasonable limits on charges for care, to a patient’s life savings, so loved ones need not be left destitute.”

MPP Frank Klees (PC, York-Mackenzie) said an “army of volunteers” do their work “quietly … many times not knowing these individuals personally, but very quickly entering into their lives in a very meaningful way.”

But this volunteer army needs backup, Klees points out. “The infrastructure … the referral system have to be there and that takes money.”

Wood believes that Cancer Care Ontario’s phased-in supportive care model should be examined for potential applications to palliative care elsewhere. He would have the task force provide interim reports to the government and the public, and continue to review the implementations of its recommendations.

Wood said he hoped the task force would cover a comprehensive range of issues from research into and provision of the best medical treatments for pain control and symptom management to setting standards for the interdisciplinary team care, whether it takes place in hospice home care, dedicated hospices, nursing homes, supportive housing, or hospitals.

Wood’s Resolution 50 passed unanimously, and was referred to the Committee of the Whole. Wood is encouraging those who wish to see the resolution lead to legislative action to write or fax his office with letters and petitions of support. The office can also provide copies of the resolution.

Bob Wood, MPP, can be reached at: 18th Floor, 25 Grosvenor St., Toronto, Ont., M7A 1Y6; phone (416) 325-4925; fax (416) 325-4926.