Thursday, September 26, 2013

Hospice palliative care helps loved ones die with dignity

Most of my clients pass over without pain, in the loving care of family members.

In memory of DrDonald Low - YouTube

2 days ago - Uploaded by Cancer View Canada
DrDonald Low passed away on September 18, 2013, seven months after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

I am afraid that this doctor, while I adored his work around the SARS epidemic, has provided many with more fears. At one point in the video he states he was fearing death. He tells us so.
Most of my hospice clients, if not all, die in peace, pain free. It all depends upon the cause of the palliative situation. Most of my clients have a good death:

Dying well at home. [On death and dying; a good death]

good death is one in which the four dimensions of good death are met:
  1. Physical (pain control, breathing, fatigue, bedsores), 
  2. Spiritual (accepting death, doing a life review, seeing meaning on one's life, finding peace), 
  3. Social (being conscious; communicating with family/friends, careworkers; communicating needs, wishes; sharing thoughts, feelings; having closure; saying farewell; a quiet, private atmosphere) and 
  4. Emotional/psychological needs (accepting help; not being a burden; being peaceful; having self-esteem; enjoying simple pleasure by releasing hope by gaining peace; making choices).
Whether you are at home, in a Palliative Hospice setting, or in long-term care, we deserve to have a good death. We should not, in the case of a palliative care diagnosis, to be placed in an emergency vehicle and shuttled to emergency. With clear advance care directives, families need not be surprised.

First, what are the measures of high-quality palliative care?

It is characterized as 
care that addresses the objective of being:
  1. safe
  2. effective
  3. patient-centred
  4. timely
  5. efficient
  6. equitable.
In fact, the palliative process is an opportunity to die with dignity, with closure, with farewells for family and friends. It means no last-minute runs into the Emergency Room. A Life Review is often a golden opportunity.

Ontario has symptom management nurses, who visit homes and ensure that all pain is managed properly, with all of the best drugs available.

 This is an excellent response from HPCO and CHPCA:
In light of recent media coverage on the issue of assisted suicide, we are redistributing the Let's Talk About Hospice Palliative Care First materials. As a provincial association, we have partnered with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association to present a unified message on the issue.

Let's talk about dying in Canada
- What will I want or need at the end of life?
- Will I suffer pain and need medication to manage my symptoms?
- How can I let my family and friends know my wishes and preferences for end of life care?
- What help is available to me?
- Will I suffer from a chronic illness and feel like a burden to others?
- What decisions will I have to make?

Many Canadians find themselves asking these questions as they near end of life. They are unsure what to expect, leading them to ask how they want to die, and whether they should have more control over their dying. Recently, this has led to a focus on controversial issues, such as euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide rather than a focus on quality end of life care.

Hospice Palliative Care Ontario and the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) believes it's time focus on the right to high quality hospice palliative care for all Canadians at the end of life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post Jennifer! I'm glad to hear that pain management is so much better than it once was. If I had my choice I would want to die in a hospice environment partly because there is so much expertise there on end-of-life-care.