"Palliative Care is an often misunderstood specialty, focused on providing support and pain management strategies to cancer patients throughout all stages of their illness. This approach, which can be blended into curative cancer therapy, focuses on care for the whole person: mind, body, and spirit."
"For someone facing a serious, chronic illness, the answers to that question take on a sharp focus. A patient with heart disease might want enough energy to walk around the neighborhood. A cancer survivor may want to feel like herself again after rounds of chemotherapy. Others might have a goal of seeing their children get married—or perhaps to get married themselves.
Helping patients get the most out of life is the aim of palliative care—which could surprise some people who associate the specialty with hospice, or care delivered in the final days and hours. Palliative care services do indeed benefit people nearing the end of their journey, but the field has become much broader over time. Many patients with a life-threatening disease now start receiving palliative care early—sometimes soon after diagnosis..."
"If you or anyone you know has advanced illness that isn't meaningfully getting better (or keeps getting worse) in spite of many treatments and hospital stays and doctors' visits then you owe it to yourself to learn more about hospice sooner rather than later. This is especially true for more frail elders with serious illness because the hazards of additional hospitalizations and certain treatment side effects are more serious and more common. Ideally, hospice care is set up on a better day, in advance of a true crisis so that the hospice team and person receiving services can get to know one another and set up truly personalized care. Too many people elect hospice so late in their course of illness that they miss out on many of the benefits".
"Although 40 percent of their palliative care patients can expect to be cured, 'there clearly still are both patients and oncologists who have an inappropriate association in their minds,' he said. 'They still associate palliative care with giving up.'
To the contrary, palliative care can help patients live fully, regardless of their prognoses."
"Lead researcher Dr. Camilla Zimmermann, head of the palliative care program at Princess Margaret Hospital, says there is a misconception about what palliative care is.
Many people believe it is the type of care hospitals offer when they have exhausted all medical options. They think it means that the oncology teams, having run out of cancer fighting tools, then hand off patients to people specialized in helping ease the final days of a dying person's life.
As a result, Zimmermann says, some people are reluctant to avail themselves of the help palliative care teams offer earlier in their cancer journey.
She says palliative care teams — some of which have started to call the service they offer supportive care — collaborate with oncology teams to try to help patients through difficult treatments and the progression of their illness. For the palliative care team, that can mean providing access to home care and to assessments of the needs of the patient and his or her family, among other things.
The aims of both teams are the same, Zimmermann says — prolonging life and improving quality of life".
"Federal and provincial governments need to guarantee access to palliative care in legislation, the Canadian Cancer Society said Tuesday as it released a report on the state of care across the country.
In its findings, the society said critically ill patients are falling through the cracks of the health care system and improvements are needed to address the patchwork of service that exists.
In the absence of national standards, individual jurisdictions are left to develop their own policies, programs and guidelines that result in inconsistent and inadequate palliative care, the report said".
"When life runs out of tomorrow's, what you realize you've got is today" ~ Rachel L. Smith
Before the tomorrow's run out, use this opportunity today to think about what you will you say to your loved ones... And then say it...
"Although some people hope to remain at home for the duration of their illness, many people find that admission to an inpatient setting can also be helpful. The inpatient care settings in the directory include palliative care units, residential hospices and dedicated palliative care beds within local hospitals. Inpatient hospice palliative care support includes 24 hour care, specialist pain and symptom management and psychosocial support for patients and families.
The map provides access to a directory which includes more information about inpatient hospice palliative care settings across Ontario. The list of facilities below may not be complete - there may be hospice palliative care settings which are not in the directory.
For contact information and details about the facility, click on a specific location. If you want more information, contact the hospice or palliative care program directly".
"It’s not just medical decision at end of life: we each have personal preferences. This often needs time and thought.
3 points to keep in mind:
- Thinking about your end-of-life can be exhausting and emotional.
- Thinking through what’s important often means having ‘Aha!’ moments about yourself.
- Determining personal choices at end of life can give you and yours peace of mind.
What to consider?
How much do I want to know?
You are The Boss"!
"Imagine a time when hospice palliative care is available to Canadians when and where they need it; where living well until death is the goal of care".
"In September 2012, Bryan Caldwell was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. A former professional football player in the NFL, rancher and surfer, he embodies strength. His wife, Krista, a nurse with Houston Hospice El Campo, even tells the story of how the morning before he was diagnosed, Bryan mowed the yard with a collapsed lung.
Six months into his fight with lymphoma, Bryan learned his cancer was unresponsive to medical treatments. He knew he wanted to spend his remaining time living without pain, at home, surrounded by all he loved. So he chose hospice care.
'Our whole philosophy is not to stay sitting, it’s to stay moving and to keep living each moment that comes along,' says Bryan. 'Hospice provides that golden opportunity for me, every single day. If I have the energy and I feel up to it, I’m getting out there'.”