Toll Free Line offered now in Canada to help with end of life decisions

By Craig Macartney

In response to Canada’s increased social acceptance and legalization of assisted suicide, a new ministry has launched a crisis line to help support and guide people making tough decisions as they near death.

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Compassionate Community Care (CCC) was created because “We recognized that many people didn’t know where to go when confronted with end-of-life issues for friends, parents or loved ones,” explains chairperson Brian Simpson.

Since its launch in late 2016, the crisis line has already had calls from people in every province and even calls from the U.S. “Most of the calls are about end-of-life questions where there are differing values being applied to people by medical and family members than what the person themself believes in,” Simpson says.

“Some people are feeling pushed to procedures or actions which differ from the wishes of the patient.”

CCC’s crisis line volunteers are there to listen, offer support and give clear information about the law and patient rights. They also refer calls to experienced physicians who can provide a second opinion and offer guidance.

“Sadly many medical practitioners actually believe it’s fine to end lives, especially when the medical condition is questionable,” says Alex Schadenberg, who volunteers with CCC and also serves as executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

“The reality is that people who are really affected by this are people of faith,” Schadenberg states. “Most often, people are contacting us because they’re finding their values are butting against the values of a physician. People need to know they have rights and how to exercise those rights.”

Simpson says the best way to support a family member facing end-of-life decisions is to be with them and advocate on their behalf. If they need more guidance or support, he suggests giving them the CCC toll-free number: 1-855-675-8749.

Craig Macartney is a regular contributor to Faith Today. This story is just one of the diverse selection of stories about the Church across Canada in the current issue of Faith Today.

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