Hospice Quinte: Changing Lives Podcast

Myths & Misconceptions About Hospice Palliative Care

November 01, 2021 Hospice Quinte Season 4 Episode 33
Hospice Quinte: Changing Lives Podcast
Myths & Misconceptions About Hospice Palliative Care
Show Notes Transcript

One of our goals at Hospice Quinte is to help people start conversations about hospice palliative care and their end of life choices.  There are a lot of myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings about hospice palliative care that can prevent people from getting the care and support they need when they need it.  Clear out the misunderstandings and find out what hospice palliative care is really about in this week's Changing Lives Podcast.

About Hospice Quinte
Hospice Quinte provides individuals, their families, and caregivers with compassionate end of life care, by attending to their physical, psychosocial, and practical needs, and offering empathetic care to those who are grieving through visiting hospice services and support groups.  All Hospice Quinte programs and services are provided by compassionate, well-trained volunteers and staff at no charge to the individual or their family.  

Hospice Quinte serves a population of over 102,000 in Quinte West, Belleville, Deseronto, Tyendinaga Township and the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. To find out more visit HospiceQuinte.ca.

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One of our goals at Hospice Quinte is to help people start conversations about hospice palliative care and their end of life choices.  There are a lot of myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings about hospice palliative care that can prevent people from getting the care and support they need when they need it.

First, it’s important to understand exactly what hospice palliative care is.  Hospice palliative care is made up of two parts – hospice care and palliative care.  Palliative, or comfort, care is appropriate for people of any age and at any stage of a serious illness.  Hospice care is generally for those who have twelve or fewer months to live and who are no longer receiving active curative treatment.  Hospice palliative care combines those two philosophies.

The purpose of hospice palliative care is to provide comfort and dignity for the person living with the illness, as well as to provide the best quality of life for them and their family – which may include friends, relatives, or partners. 

An important objective of hospice palliative care is the relief of pain and other symptoms the person might be experiencing. It not only meets physical needs, but also the psychological, social, cultural, emotional and spiritual needs of each person and their family. 

Quality hospice palliative care offers a flexible set of services. It includes physical, psychological, social, spiritual and practical support for people with life-threatening illnesses, and to their families. It focuses on what people need and want at any given time, both prior to death and during bereavement. Canadians need to understand that hospice palliative care is broader than pain and symptom management in the final days of life.

Now, let’s get to some of the misunderstandings and misconceptions that people may have about hospice palliative care.  Many people think things like, “Receiving hospice palliative care means you’ll die soon.” “Hospice palliative care is just for seniors.” “I can only get hospice palliative care in a hospital.”  

People tend to think that hospice palliative care is offered only for seniors with advanced illness – which is not the case.  In fact, hospice palliative care is provided to people of all ages – from children, teens, to younger, older and senior adults.  For instance, people may not even know that Canada already has six freestanding children’s hospices to help meet the need. No age is exempt from receiving a life threatening diagnosis, to being prepared for and eventually having to face the final stage of life. 

You might have heard that hospice palliative care is only for the last few hours or weeks of life.  That’s not the case.  Hospice Quinte provides in-home hospice visiting services for up to the last twelve months of life.  Our trained and compassionate volunteers visit with patients, providing respite to caregivers so they can attend to their own needs.  Our volunteers can provide up to four hours of service each week, to be scheduled as needed.  They provide social, emotional, and practical support to the patient, and their family, friends, and other caregivers.

Some people think only a doctor can recommend hospice palliative care.  Unfortunately, three out of five Canadian primary care physicians do not feel well prepared to help people in need of palliative care. That means that even if you could benefit from hospice palliative care, your doctor might not feel comfortable talking to you about it.  Fortunately, anyone can start the conversation about hospice palliative care.  If you think it’s something that might help you or someone you are caring for, call Hospice Quinte.  We can get the conversation started.

Because so much activity at end of life focuses on the person diagnosed with a terminal illness, some people think that hospice palliative care is only for the dying.  In fact, quality hospice palliative care provides support and services for caregivers of the terminally ill as well as other family members.  Hospice palliative care doesn’t stop when the patient dies – bereavement support also falls under the hospice umbrella of services.  Hospice Quinte provides support services for caregivers of the terminally ill as well as those who have lost a loved one and are struggling with grief and bereavement.

Hospice Quinte provides individuals, their families, and caregivers with compassionate end of life care, by attending to their physical, psychosocial, and practical needs, and offering empathetic care to those who are grieving through visiting hospice services and support groups.  All Hospice Quinte programs and services are provided by compassionate, well-trained volunteers and staff at no charge to the individual or their family.  We serve a population of over 102,000 in Quinte West, Belleville, Deseronto, Tyendinaga Township and the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.