Share The Care on The Savvy Senior
May 07, 2013
|Every Saturday at noon, The Savvy Senior Show on AM980 brings senior’s issues and topics to the London airwaves. Christian Bullas has been hosting the show for about five years, conducting interviews on everything from healthcare and home care to social issues and recreation--all topics relevant to seniors and their families.
From left: Norah Cuzzocrea, Caregiver Exchange Coordinator and Lynn Davis from Serenity House in St Thomas, Ont.
caregiverexchange.ca Coordinator Norah Cuzzocrea and Serenity House Program Coordinator Lynn Davis were interviewed on this week’s show about caregiving, finding caregiving-related resources and Share the Care™.
Click here to listen to this week's show
Value of End-To-Life Care
March 28, 2013
About The Author Susan Bonner, CBC News
Susan Bonner is one of Canada's top political journalists, currently reporting from Washington, D.C. In over 20 years with the CBC, Bonner has reported from every platform, TV, radio and online, and was a parliamentary reporter in Ottawa for many years.
As a news reporter, I specialize in telling other people's stories as a way of explaining or understanding issues and events that are important to Canadians.
This story is my own family's story and although it does not qualify as "news", it is about a painful event we all face.
It is about my father's death and what that has taught me about end-of-life care.
My father died in a hospice in Renfrew, Ontario. Wrapped around the moments of heartbreak and, frankly, emotional trauma, were family whispers of "what would we do without this place?"
Hospice Renfrew is simply a model of what anyone would want in the worst-case scenario: a beautiful palliative-care facility with exceptional staff that pulses with compassion and respect.
Plan was to get home care
It was never the plan. When my dad was diagnosed with terminal oesophogeal cancer he bravely 'put his affairs in order' and told his loved ones that he wanted to stay at home; with a nurse in the family we thought it was manageable.
His dedicated family doctor made daily visits and Ontario's Community Care Access Centre arranged for all the supplies my parents needed.
But cancer doesn't follow anyone's plans. My father struggled with unspeakable pain as the cancer literally splintered his bones. His caregivers tried every conceivable combination to manage the pain and still follow his wishes to stay lucid. There were so many drugs and so many side effects. He had to be hospitalized several times and he hated that.
Through his doctor he was able to get a much-sought-after space in Hospice Renfew. It was supposed to be a short-term stay to help find the right drug regime, but he never went home. And even though he did not want to die, he knew he was fortunate to be where he was. He had superb 24-hour nursing care that was not in any way intrusive. He had a lovely room with a distinctly non-medical look where family was welcome any time without limits. We even had sleepovers when it was too hard to leave.
Hospices struggle to meet demand
Many people in his situation can't get into a hospice and have to stay in a hospital. A Canadian senate study in 2000 found that hospices in Canada can only meet about 15 per cent of the demand of our aging population. And government funding has not grown as fast as demand.
As a Canadian living in the U.S. I often quietly give thanks for the Canadian health-care system. A modest-income family, we never once had to worry whether health insurance would cover a necessary drug or another hospital stay the way so many Americans do. But the truth is, there are not enough Hospice Renfrews in Ontario or in Canada.
The ones that do exist do so thanks in large part to the kindness of their community. Hospice Renfrew relies on private donations for 50 per cent of its operating budget. Volunteers play a key role, offering everything from fresh baking to knitted slippers and company for patients and family.
My father didn't have an easy or gentle death. It is awful to write that and was horrible to watch. But I cannot imagine anyone doing anything more to help him keep his dignity and with as much comfort as possible.
This is a heartfelt thank you to the very special team who took care of my dad, but it is more than that. My dad taught me so much in life, told me always to question and to challenge and to fight for good.
I wish Hospice Renfrew quality care for every Canadian family that needs it. And I urge a national conversation about whether we can afford it and whether we can afford to ignore the need.
CHPCA Policy Alert
December 18, 2012
CHPCA Policy Alert
Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association's
Response to the Rasouli Case
Hi all, With all the attention surrounding the Rasouli case over the past weeks, we thought it timely to send you all a policy alert so that you are aware of the CHPCA’s position. If you have any questions or concerns, please reply to this and we will send your feedback along to our Euthanasia Response Task Group who are handling this issue. Best, Sharon Baxter What is the Rasouli Case about?Mr. Hassan Rasouli has been in a persistent vegetative/minimally conscious state and ventilator dependent since October 2010. After an extensive internal review and negotiation with the family, a decision was made that CPR and intensive life support was not the standard of care for patients with this diagnosis, as prolonged medical benefit could not be realized. The family disagreed. It is important to realize that these cases are extremely rare. In most situations, the clinical team and surrogate decision makers can reach agreement on the goals of care with the support of social work, palliative care, pastoral care, and medical ethics. Clinicians will often provide treatment that is not medically indicated while this process of negotiation proceeds. This case is about how should conflicts between families and clinical teams be resolved to determine the standard of care for patients. What are the CHPCA’s Key Messages?The CHPCA wants first and foremost to make the distinction that hospice palliative care is not a “treatment,” rather another step in the patient’s continuum of care. Hospice palliative care aims to relieve suffering and improve the quality of living and dying, we strive neither to extend life nor hasten death. The CHPCA also believes that situations like this can best be avoided through advance care planning and establishing a substitute decision maker who is aware of the patient’s advance care plan. Advance care planning is not necessarily about creating a document or writing things down, it’s more about having conversations with a substitute decision maker, family, friends, health care professionals, and maybe even financial/legal professionals about preferences for care. To learn more about advance care planning and free resources through the “Speak Up: Start the conversation about end-of-life care” campaign, please visit www.advancecareplanning.ca. CHPCA’s full press release is available here. Media Coverage Rasouli case shows need to be pro-active about treatment - The Globe and Mail, December 9, 2012Rasouli case may help reduce misunderstanding about role of palliative care - The Globe and Mail, December 9, 2012Rasouli case puts tough questions of end-of-life care in Supreme Court's hands - The Canadian Press, December 10, 2012 End-of-life battles expose the culture clash in Canada’s intensive care units - The National Post, December 7, 2012 http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=823864 – Featuring our very own Dr. Larry Librach, December 10, 2012