May is Palliative Care Month

What is hospice palliative care?

The World Health Organization defines palliative care as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illnesses.  This is accomplished with the relief of suffering and by the treatment of pain and other matters such as physical, psychological and spiritual matters.

Five main principles of palliative care

  1. It reduces pain and provides relief from other symptoms.
  2. Professes that death is a normal process of life.
  3. Offers a support system to help the family cope during the patient’s illness.
  4. Enhances the quality of life for the patient.
  5. Neither prolongs life nor hastens it.

Key statistics on Palliative Care in Canada

Source: Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association

  • Less than 30% of Canadians who die currently have access to or receive hospice palliative and end-of-life care Even fewer receive grief and bereavement services.
  • When asked, most people have indicated that they would prefer to die at home in the presence of loved ones.
  • Almost 70% of Canadian deaths occur in a hospital.
  • According to an Ontario study, 84% of people who died of cancer between 2002 and 2005 visited the emergency department in the last six months of life. And 40% visited emergency in the last two weeks of their life.
  • An Ipsos-Reid survey reported that on average, Canadians estimate that 54 hours per week would be needed to take care of a dying loved one in their homes.
  • A research study revealed that 75% of all deaths occur in people over 65 years of age.
  • In February 2012, Nova Scotia became the last province to implement a Palliative Home Care Drug Coverage Program.
  • All provinces now have some form of palliative drug coverage for home care patients.

The 6 step therapeutic process to palliative care

1. Assessment

An Assessment for palliative care is the 1st stage in the 6 step therapeutic process to a palliative care plan.  This stage determines the patient’s current ailments.

  • Mark down the history of active and potential issues
  • Manage associated expectations, needs, hope and fears
  • Venture to find opportunities for growth
  • Physical examination
  • Laboratory testing
  • Radiology

2. Information Gathering

Information Gathering is the 2nd stage in the 6 step therapeutic process to a palliative care plan.  This phase determines how and what type of information is provided to family members of the patient.

  • Determine the readiness for information about the patient
  • Set limits of confidentiality
  • Procedure for the process of sharing the information
  • Have accessible translations for medical terms
  • Assess the desire for additional information

3. Decision Making

Decision Making is the 3rd stage in the 6 step therapeutic process to a palliative care plan. This phase is crucial as it sets out the goals for the care, and it appoints the family care lead.

  • Set the goals for care
  • Appoint the family care lead
  • Inform of treatment choices and receive consent
  • Manage conflict resolution between family members
  • Obtain requests for withholding or withdrawing therapy with no potential benefit

4. Care Planning

Care planning for palliative care is the 4th stage in the 6 step therapeutic process to a palliative care plan.  Care planning concentrates on the issues and opportunities that arise during the decision-making process.

  • Decision making in the setting of care
  • Address issues and opportunities with chosen therapies
  • The care plan should include:
  • Emergencies
    • Backup Coverage
    • Discharge planning
    • Respite care
    • Bereavement care

5. Care Delivery

Care Delivery for palliative care is the 5th stage in the 6 step therapeutic process to a palliative care plan.  During this phase, the care team and support system is determined.

  • Select the care team
  • Include a support system
  • Education Training
  • Consultation
  • Provide essential services
  • Address any errors

6. Confirmation of Palliative care

The Confirmation of palliative care is the 6th stage in the 6 step therapeutic process to a palliative care plan.  This phase ensures the family of the patient has a clear picture of the ongoing process to come over time.

  • Ensuring the family of the patient has:
  • Understanding
  • Satisfaction
  • Aware of the complexity
  • Manage stress
  • Concerns and other issues addressed
  • The ability to participate in the plan of care

How can Mavencare help?

Mavencare has many experienced caregivers in providing the best quality palliative care for your loved one. We can provide care in your loved one's home or from a nursing home if they reside in one.

Our caregivers seek to provide the most comfort possible for your loved one while respecting the patient's dignity, social and cultural needs. Our palliative care Mavens can also provide many services to ease your burdens, such as food preparation, light housework and laundry, shopping and other errands.

If you need help assessing your needs, creating a care plan, or need some respite care, Mavencare can help. Send us an email at support@mavencare.com or call us at 1-800-856-2836.

We also provide a free of charge care assessment, click here to get started.

 

Resources

There are some global websites referring to Palliative care.

Here are Mavencare's choices of best Canadian resources:

Palliative Care Publications

Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Assosiation

Virtual Hospice