A Philosophy – Not a Place
Hospice, sometimes called palliative care, is a special kind of care designed to provide sensitivity and support for individuals experiencing cancer or other life-limiting illness and their families. Rather than a place, hospice is a philosophy – a program of care and support wherever there is a need.
Hospice palliative care began for those who had advanced illness when a cure was no longer sought. The goal of care was to help people remain pain free and alert, so the remainder of their lives would be spent with dignity and comfort.
Today, hospice palliative care recognizes the need to provide information and support early ~ at the very difficult time when a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness is given. People need honest information and a variety of supports and assistance in accessing health and home care services. Many life-threatening illnesses have become chronic in nature and people, with support and treatment, are able to manage their disease and extend their quality of life.
Quality of Life
Care is about enabling people to continue to be a part of their home environment and part of their community at the same time they are accessing treatment for symptoms of an illness. Taking part in their own care plan, continuing with activities as long as possible and the presence of friends, all help to nurture and maintain a person’s sense of self. Each person’s quality of life should reflect their individual values ~ what matters to them and what they care about.
A team of family, friends, health care professionals and volunteers provide the care by working together to provide options for care and to sensitively meet choices and needs. Care may take place at home, in a treatment centre, hospital, hospice setting or residential care facility. Bereavement Care is an important component and is offered after a death to support family and friends in need.
Good hospice palliative care involves meeting physical, emotional and spiritual needs of individuals, including the need to:
Be pain free
Maintain independence and control over their lives
Participate in decisions concerning their care
Have questions answered honestly
Know they are not alone
Be heard and have emotional support
Have the quality of life that they choose
Be free of other people’s judgments
Validate their lives
Be cared for by caring, sensitive people