Hospice is about improving the quality of the death experience for patients, families and caregivers. The philosophy of the hospice model is to provide compassionate, quality care for people facing terminal illness. This is accomplished with an interdisciplinary team approach so the best medical care, pain control and emotional and spiritual support can be tailored to the individual needs of each patient and family. The hospice philosophy also embodies the belief that each and every person has the right to die with dignity and without pain, and that families should receive the help and support needed to participate in this process.
Some hospice programs enable the patient to stay at home. However, some are freestanding hospice centres or are affiliated with hospitals or nursing homes. The hospice team is usually comprised of hospice physicians, nurses, social workers, home health aides, volunteers and chaplains and other pastoral counsellors.
Some of the services provided include:
- Pain management
- Emotional and spiritual support
- Family coaching
- Provision of drugs and medical supplies
- Home health aide placement and supervision
In Canada, the Canadian Virtual Hospice provides support and personalized information about palliative and end-of-life care to patients, family members, health care providers, researchers and educators. You may contact them to learn more.
The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association provides a list of provincial resources. You may contact them to learn more.