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Providence Healthcare
Providence Healthcare

New Initiatives in Palliative Care Program to Support Patients and their Families

May 07, 2015

Palliative Care is a specialized program at Providence Hospital that focuses on individuals living with a terminal illness and nearing the end of life. Our interprofessional team works with patients and their families to create a care strategy that addresses their unique physical, emotional, spiritual and practical needs. The focus is on maintaining comfort and dignity through a patient’s final days and finding special moments to celebrate life.

In 2013/14, our Palliative Care program introduced a number of new initiatives designed to enhance the support we provide patients and their families:

  • If they wish, we now help patients return home for their final days, when possible. Throughout the process, families felt supported, knowing that if it became too difficult at home, a bed was ready at Providence.
  • We extended our ability to admit patients on weekends, giving more options and access to our partners in acute care and our local Community Care Access Centres. We admitted eight patients on weekends in 2013/14.
  • We piloted a new program to offer respite for families caring for a loved one at home. Now, it’s possible for families to find temporary relief by having their loved one admitted for a short stay – typically about two weeks – with the goal of returning home.
  • We introduced a new process to consistently collect pain scores for palliative patients, helping us to  monitor pain more closely, and keep patients as comfortable as possible during their final days.
  • We now reach out to families approximately three weeks after their loved ones have died to check in and see how they are coping.

All these initiatives have enhanced the care we provide, but the traditional hospital environment where we care for our patients and their families is limiting. To address the issue, our Foundation is raising funds – part of our $16 million Hope Starts Here capital campaign – to create a new space for Palliative Care that is home-like and tranquil. The new design will place emphasis on providing support services for patients, but with a significant emphasis on loved ones and caregivers.

In the near future, Palliative Care will have its own dedicated entrance, more home-like patient rooms, overnight suites for families, a kitchenette and common rooms for socializing, a children’s play area, and a business centre for families to stay connected to work and maintain communication with distant friends and family. These are just a few of the changes planned that will help patients and their families affirm and celebrate a life well lived – together.