From Hospice Care to Palliative and Supportive Care
During construction of the North Shore Hospice, the North Shore Palliative Care team looked at ways to improve access to care for patients living with a life threatening illness. It was decided to change the name of the program to incorporate the aim of palliative care support and to provide patients with access to resources on an outpatient basis. The program changed its name to North Shore Palliative and Supportive Care.
Now, instead of limiting palliative care to a patient’s last weeks or months, patients who are in need of symptom management and emotional and psychosocial support will be able to access palliative specialists earlier in their illness to allow a plan of treatment and care to be developed.
The Day Program – Innovative Outpatient Program at the Hospice
Once the name and the focus of palliative care on the North Shore changed, the question remained: How could patients and families be given earlier and regular access to the facilities and staff at the new Hospice? The planning for a day program was launched and the search for a sponsoring partner was on. That’s where the North Shore Hospice Society stepped in.
NS Hospice Society Sponsors the Palliative Support Day Program
Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the North Shore Hospice Society (previously the Lions Gate Hospice Society), the Palliative Support Day Program was opened in January 2011.
This innovative program is already enormously helpful to patients and their families. Here is what some patients are saying about the Palliative Support Day Program:
“I love coming because it's one place I can just be myself, I don't have to pretend anything”.
“...it's a place where one is respectfully listened to & each person's journey is honoured with compassion & affection. Looking forward to coming has enabled me to get through some rough days & nights. We also learn from each other's life skills.”
“...it is a place that has comfortable chairs that I can fall asleep in & nobody minds! It has good cookies & lots of hugs!”
The Who, When and Where of the Program:
Held Monday to Friday (except Wednesday) the Palliative Support Day Program is held at the NS Hospice and provides an essential lifeline for patients and their families experiencing the difficulties that a life-threatening illness can bring.
The Palliative Support Day Program is led by an Palliative Registered Nurse, an Acute Care Aide and Palliative volunteers. The staff work closely with the Palliative Physicians, the Palliative team, the patient’s own family physician and the community nurses. experienced
The Palliative Support Day Program provides an opportunity for the Nurse to monitor symptoms, and bring in other members of the Palliative team to ensure that the patient stays well and as independent as possible.
The Palliative Support Day Program is open from 10-4 and a delicious lunch and afternoon snack is prepared by the chef in the Hospice kitchen. Most dietary needs can be catered for.
The cost is $6 a day which covers the cost of the lunch and snacks. If patients experience transport difficulties it may be possible for this to be arranged at a subsidised rate.
Referral to the 12 Week Palliative Support Day Program
Patients may be referred to the Palliative Support Day Program for one or more of the following reasons:
- to meet other members of the clinical team or for the Palliative Support nurses to monitor symptoms;
- to meet other clients in similar situations;
- to provide opportunities for family or caregivers to have a day off; or
- to use the Hospice bathing facilities when access at home is difficult.
A 12 week placement is offered, which may be extended if the goals we set with the patients are not reached within that time or if new problems arise.
Care Givers' Day
Looking after someone who is very ill can be tiring, frightening and stressful and those caring for someone who is under the care of the NS Palliative and Supportive Care Program are offered the opportunity to attend a caregivers’ day once a month. This gives the client the opportunity to meet other caregivers, and to receive any practical support that may be required. For example, techniques for managing breathlessness or stress, information about the various benefits available and advice about aromatherapy oils to aid relaxation
Every care givers’ day includes the chance for a massage, or just the opportunity to rest. We can also arrange a different activity each month, such as flower arranging, music, art or a talk from a wide range of guest speakers. The day includes lunch cooked by our own chef in the Hospice kitchen and costs just $6.
Carry On Caring: Bereavement Support
Once a month on a Wednesday, the Palliative Support Day Program offers lunch and activities to caregivers or family members who have lost their loved one.
One of the most difficult aspects of having cared for someone for a long period and then to lose them is integrating once more into society. The Palliative Support Day Program assists bereaved persons to cope with their loss through professional counsellor and peer support.
For more information, contact your family physician or the Palliative and Supportive Care team at the Hospice.