Campaign Urges Canadians to Explore End-Of-Life Care Choices
Death and dying. Its not a topic most people want to discuss, let alone think about,
but have you ever considered how you would want to be cared for in the last stages
of your life should you become terminally ill?
For thousands of people facing life-threatening illness across Canada, the questions,
fears and worries associated with death have been answered by hospice palliative care.
This specialized form of care meets the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of
terminally ill patients of all ages and their loved ones in a supportive environment
be it at home, in a hospital or in a specialized hospice facility.
The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, in partnership with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and local hospice palliative care organizations across Canada, launched the Living Lessons® campaign in 1998. The Living Lessons® campaign began as a public awareness campaign to educate Canadians about hospice palliative care. Today, the program continues to enlighten Canadians about the end-of-life care choices available to them and their loved ones who may one day face a life-threatening illness such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, lung disease and Alzheimers disease.
"Hospice palliative care offers individualized care that stresses living fully until
the very end of life, with dignity and in comfort," says (name of HPC organization
spokesperson). "It is this care that helps to make a very difficult life passage both
manageable and meaningful."
The key messages, or lessons of the campaign, are based on the experiences of hospice
palliative care professionals, volunteers and families which show 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
||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 ones 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.
"Through the campaign, we hope to change peoples attitudes and behaviours about death
and dying, encourage them to talk openly about what they want or expect from end-of-life
care and become advocates for increased hospice palliative care resources and expertise
in their communities," says Doe.
There are currently more than 450 programs and services available in the hospice palliative care network across Canada that bring family members, friends, physicians, nurses and volunteers together as a caregiving team to help patients live their final days in a relatively pain-free, peaceful and supportive environment.
If you would like more information about hospice palliative care services in your
community, call (name of national, provincial or local hospice palliative care organization)
at (telephone number).