Palliative Care at Home
Palliative Care at Home. There comes a time when each one of us must say goodbye. Having the proper Palliative Care in place can help everyone get through this challenging time.
It is often the wish of family members, as well as their loved one, to stay at home for as long as possible throughout an illness. The many twists and turns an illness takes can lead you into a hospital or hospice, or to have palliative care at home.
The Basics of Palliative Care at home or in a facility
Proper palliative care has its own distinct mission: to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for people with serious illnesses. The goal of palliative home care services is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Contrary to common belief, palliative care doesn’t serve only the dying. Instead, it focuses more broadly on improving life and providing comfort to people of all ages with serious, chronic, and life-threatening illnesses. Palliative care is genuinely patient-centered, meaning that patients are asked what’s important to them and what their major priorities are. Based on the wishes of the patients and the families, a care plan is developed with a strategy that meets the patient’s goals and values. The focus of care is on achieving comfort and ensuring respect for the person nearing death and maximizing quality of life for the patient, family and loved ones. In Toronto, our palliative home care services addresses different aspects of end-of-life care by:
- engaging people in the activities they love, whether we are delivering palliative care at home or in a facility
- providing social, psychological, cultural, emotional, spiritual and practical support
- supporting family caregivers
Palliative Care at Home: Palliative Care should have a Holistic Focus
Palliative care at home or in a hospital should be holistic, considering the whole picture of the patient’s health and life, rather than considering an individual part only. For patients, this means attending to the challenges that illness poses in every aspect of life. It also means that palliative care extends to family members and caregivers. Retire-At-Home Services Toronto and North York palliative care at home services may include:
- Helping to educate family members about the patient’s illness
- respite care for caregivers
- home help with housekeeping, transportation, meal preparation, and shopping.
Retire-At-Home Services Toronto and North York can help with supporting the ‘whole’ for your loved one. We can gather information from local agencies and institutions to support you, we can provide respite care for caregivers by supplying experienced staff that will look after your loved one to give your family a break. Housekeeping and meal preparation is a common service that we provide, relieving some of the domestic responsibilities for your family during the delicate time of palliative care. We can go shopping and pick up groceries. If you cannot supply transportation for your loved one, we can arrange transportation in the Toronto area for you. Whether in-home, or in a retirement residence or hospital, Retire-At-Home Services Toronto and North York can help you with palliative care.
Palliative Care at home: Planning your loved one’s care before or during Palliative Care
The Government of Ontario has produced A Guide to Advance Care Planning as part of Ontario’s Strategy for Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias, however, it has good information and things to think about for anyone facing a terminal illness or uncertainty. The document provides information for seniors for making choices about personal care and encourages them in engaging in these important conversations with family, loved ones, and Powers of Attorney. The document provides a list of key steps necessary for initiating the advance care planning process and provides a ‘wallet card’ which, once completed, could contain substitute decision-maker contact and other information. You can download the Ontario Government’s guide to Advanced Care Planning here. The Ontario Prince Edward Family Health Team (PEFHT) has also developed a tool entitled My Voice: Advance Care Plan. This booklet provides background information and considerations regarding advance care planning and a workbook to assist individuals in documenting and communicating their choices. The premise of the document is that in today’s health care system, the doctors and nurses who treat you may not know you. When you (the patient) are able to understand and communicate for yourself, the doctors and nurses will explain your treatment choices to you, however, if you are unable to communicate for yourself or are unable to understand what the care providers are saying to you, an Advance Care Plan will help them know your wishes. You can download the PEFHT My Voice document here. Conversations about a person’s illness understanding, their values and beliefs, and their goals and wishes for future care are a key part of a good palliative care approach. These goals of care and advance care planning discussions should happen early rather than at the end of life, and should be ongoing as a person’s needs and preferences may change.
Palliative Care at home: Help for Bereavement and Palliative Care
The Bereaved Families of Ontario (BFO) Toronto chapter offers Mutual Support Bereavement Groups specialised for children, youth, or adults. They also run groups for parents who have lost a child. In addition to group sessions, they offer initial support and one on one services. The BFO Toronto says that the grieving process is a unique and individual experience. Although there is no right or wrong way to grieve, the following suggestions have helped other bereaved people during this difficult time:
- take one day at a time, respecting your needs and limitations
- know that you are not alone
- do not be afraid to ask for help if you feel you need support
Palliative Care at home: Help with Estate Issues and Palliative Care
Choosing a good time to discuss these issues, it would be invaluable to gather information about your loved one’s estate, or after death wishes before your loved one passes. Although difficult or uncomfortable to discuss, we would like to help you compile the information and documents needed to support the executor of your loved one’s estate. For full information and a list of information and documents that are needed, please visit our blog post on Executor Help.
Palliative Care at home: Retire-At-Home Services Palliative Care
Our palliative care Toronto is managed and overseen by our nurses, delivering the best home care to your family and loved one. Families can be supported during this difficult time by around the clock dedicated Personal Support Workers (PSWs) or nurses to attend to your loved one’s specific needs. We can also provide respite care to support the family. We can deliver compassionate professional palliative care at home or:
- in a retirement home
- in a long term care facility
- or in the hospital
When delivering palliative care at home. our nurse will work with your doctor, pharmacist, and other health professionals to deliver the best care for you loved one.
Our care is available 24 hours a day!