National Hospice Palliative Care Week is May 3-9 and the national goal is to get people talking to each other about the importance of hospice palliative care.
Some 96 per cent of Canadians support hospice palliative care and believe it has a positive impact. However, many people do not have a clear understanding of the services and benefits that hospice palliative care programs offer.
Locally, the 100 Mile District Hospice and Palliative Care Society has been providing free support to patients and their loved ones through the services of trained volunteers since 1985.
Unfortunately, society members are often told people don’t know the service is here or how the volunteers can help.
Currently, six in 10 Canadians either personally suffer from a chronic illness or have a sufferer in their immediate family.
At some time and in some way, people must all face the end of life. Most people share a common hope – that when death comes to us or to a loved one, it will be peaceful and free of pain. People hope to face death surrounded by loved ones, feeling safe, comfortable and cared for.
The big picture of hospice palliative care aims to relieve suffering, while improving the quality of living and dying.
Hospice palliative care programs give patients and caregivers more options. Patients gain more control over their lives; pain and symptoms are managed more effectively; and family caregivers experience support.
Hospice palliative care is not just for the final days or months of life. It’s care that should begin when a life-threatening condition is diagnosed.
Early support helps individuals and families to experience less stress as they navigate the difficulties that can arise with life-limiting illness and manage the often complicated journey at the end of life.
Although there is treatment for many life-limiting illnesses, a cure is not always possible. As an illness progresses, what people need and want changes.
The palliative care team focuses on the individual’s need at any given point in time and provides care in hospital, facility or the family home.
Thankfully, hospice palliative care can help with encouraging the important conversations and planning that allows patients to make informed decisions about their own care. Families gain a better understating of their loved ones wishes, which can ease the way when there are difficult decisions to make.
100 Mile District Hospice Palliative Care Society volunteers also understand it can be difficult and even scary to ask for or accept help, so in honour of Nation Hospice Palliative Care Week, the society has asked some of the people who have been recipients of local service to share their personal stories during the month of May.
Watch for their stories and get talking about the importance of hospice palliative care in 100 Mile House.