Living Lessons® Campaign Background Information
The Evolution of the Living Lessons® Hospice Palliative Care Campaign
Delegates at Canada's first Hospice Palliative Care Summit, organized by The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation (formerly The Glaxo Wellcome Foundation) and held in November 1997, identified the critical need to develop a comprehensive public/policy strategy to influence public awareness, policy development and funding for hospice palliative care in Canada.
A national poll further reinforced the need for greater awareness of, and access to, hospice palliative care services. The results showed that only 30 per cent of respondents could define what hospice palliative care was, but that 84 per cent of Canadians identified it as the type of end-of-life care they would want to receive.
The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation embraced the findings and has worked closely with hospice palliative care organizations to develop and implement a campaign called Living Lessons®. The campaign's goal is to educate Canadians about hospice palliative care, and the options that are available to patients and their loved ones who are facing terminal illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, lung disease and ALS disease.
The purpose of the Living Lessons® campaign is to educate and inform patients, caregivers, medical professionals, policy makers and the public-at-large, about the resources and expertise available in the community that offer quality, end-of-life care.
The key messages or lessons of the campaign are based on real-life experiences documented by hospice palliative care professionals, volunteers, patients and families which support the fact there are many life lessons to be learned despite the fears, anxiety and stress that often accompanies death. These lessons include:
- When the physical and emotional needs of the dying are sensitively met, the journey toward death can be a rich and profound experience that gives meaning and completeness to life.
- It is essential to effectively manage pain and other symptoms so those facing death and their loved ones can devote their energies not to fighting physical discomfort, but to embracing the life of mind, heart and spirit.
- Living with life-threatening illness is tough, demanding and intense for loved ones as well as the patient. But with practical, emotional and spiritual support through all the stages of illness and bereavement, loved ones can also experience moments of special communication, growth and even joy.
- Because everyone faces death in their own way, retaining the power of individual choice – whether it be medical treatments, the care setting or about practical, emotional and spiritual services – is essential to preserving one’s dignity.
- Patients and their loved ones must be well-informed, be active decision-makers and partners in the care team prepared to advocate for the quality of care they deserve at the end of life.
The campaign communicates that hospice palliative care focuses on caring, not curing
on life, not death, through thought-provoking information and photography by internationally recognized photojournalist Roger LeMoyne. It educates patients, caregivers, medical professionals, volunteers, policy makers and the public-at-large about the resources and expertise available in the community.
Hospice palliative care providers will also benefit from the campaign as it offers opportunities to raise awareness about the role and need for hospice palliative care and to develop partnerships with stakeholder groups to facilitate discussion and action on hospice palliative care.
The development of the campaign represented the beginning steps of GlaxoSmithKlines long-term commitment toward providing funding (through The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation) and employee expertise to further the Canadian hospice palliative care movement.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Manager, Community Partnerships & Philanthropy
The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Background Information
Established in Canada by GlaxoSmithKline Inc., The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation is guided by the conviction that Foundation investments should help make a positive difference in the community and enhance the quality of life of Canadians.
The Foundation expresses this commitment by providing funding and resources to many organizations, primarily in the areas of healthcare and health promotion, science education and hospice palliative care.
In January 1997, GlaxoSmithKline employees voted to make a substantial, long-term commitment to the cause of hospice palliative care as a way for the Foundation to make a difference and have a greater impact on the quality of peoples lives.
In partnership with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation is working to create a public and policy environment that recognizes and supports end-of-life care as an integral component of Canadashealthcare system, in addition to continuing the commitment to build awareness and support for the hospice palliative care movement in Canada. A strategic, long-term campaign called Living Lessons® is helping to establish hospice palliative care as a core health care service; this will result in improved outcomes for those facing life-threatening illnesses and their loved ones.
GlaxoSmithKline Inc. donates more than $7.5 million annually through the Foundation and other channels to initiatives in healthcare, science education and local community organizations. The Foundation supports many creative organizations and inspiring projects including the HIV/AIDS Community Innovation Program; The Canadian Diabetes Association; The Lung Association; ACTUA; Lymphoma Foundation of Canada; Health Partners International of Canada; United Way, and many others.
GlaxoSmithKline Inc. recognizes that other resources such as employee time and management expertise are equally important and valuable to charitable causes and encourages its many employees across Canada to donate their time and skills as volunteers, board members or consultants to the various charitable initiatives it supports.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Manager, Community Partnerships & Philanthropy
Hospice Palliative Care Background Information
Hospice Palliative Care in Canada
Hospice palliative care provides physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and practical support to people with life-threatening illness and their loved ones. It brings family members, friends, volunteers, physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals together as a caregiving team so patients can live their remaining days in dignity and comfort, surrounded by people who love them. Hospice palliative care helps make a very difficult life passage both manageable and meaningful for people facing death and for their loved ones.
The focus of hospice palliative care is neither to hasten nor postpone death, but rather to make the last stages of life comfortable and peaceful for terminally ill patients and their caregivers. Quality of life, family wellness, community involvement and personal dignity are all part of hospice palliative cares compassionate and progressive vision.
Hospice palliative care offers a flexible and individualized variety of supports delivered within a set of professional standards. It can be provided at home, in hospitals or in specialized hospice facilities to patients of all ages.
In the more than 30 years since the hospice palliative care concept was first introduced in Canada, hospice palliative care workers and volunteers have identified a number of factors that continue to hinder the movement’s wider acceptance and availability in the community. These findings, based on years of experience, were identified in a 1997 study and include the following:
- A lack of public awareness and confusion about what hospice palliative care is
- Inadequate training for healthcare professionals in the area of hospice palliative care
- Unclear commitment by government to hospice palliative care
- Lack of integration between community-based and institutional hospice palliative care programs
Today, the need for hospice palliative care is critical as recent restructuring and cost cutting in the healthcare and social services sectors have resulted in:
- Hospital closures
- Decreased availability of hospice palliative care beds
- Earlier discharges
- Increased reliance on homecare and family caregivers without adequate support systems for terminally ill patients and their caregivers
With more than 450 hospice palliative care organizations in Canada providing support to patients and families coping with life threatening illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, lung disease, heart disease and ALS disease, the demand for services continues to increase. In fact, existing hospice palliative care capacity often can't meet the current demand, and there are many more families who need end-of-life care, but don't know it's available.
The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and the hospice palliative care movement, in partnership with The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, launched the Living Lessons® campaign in 1998. Its goal is to promote awareness and understanding of the quality care that is possible at the end of life, to change peoples' attitudes and behaviours about death and dying, and to encourage Canadians to talk openly about, and advocate for what they want or expect from end-of-life care.
For further information, contact the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association
or your provincial hospice palliative care association.