Fund­ing needed for pal­lia­tive care

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial -

On a re­cent morn­ing, five of us, or­di­nary women in the Strait Area, met over a cup of cof­fee to dis­cuss the place and qual­ity of pal­lia­tive care in our health care sys­tem.

The struc­ture of so­ci­ety has un­der­gone rad­i­cal changes through the life span of our se­niors. No longer is the ex­tended fam­ily able to care for their el­ders when they need spe­cial care. Death and dy­ing are mostly re­moved from the home and are as­so­ci­ated more with hos­pi­tals and in­sti­tu­tions.

Ad­e­quately funded pal­lia­tive care al­lows peo­ple with a life threat­en­ing ill­ness to stay at home and be cared for by a team of care­givers who pro­vide for their med­i­cal, phys­i­cal, spir­i­tual, and psy­cho­log­i­cal needs in a holis­tic ap­proach. Fam­i­lies whose loved ones have re­ceived pal­lia­tive care tes­tify to its heal­ing power for the whole fam­ily. Qual­ity of life is im­proved. At the same time the uti­liza­tion of home care cuts down on hos­pi­tal­iza­tion, which is so ex­pen­sive.

Most peo­ple pre­fer to stay at home at such a crit­i­cal point in their lives when of­ten they have al­most no choice but to leave it. We be­lieve pal­lia­tive care is es­sen­tial if we are to hon­our and care for our fam­ily mem­bers as long as they are liv­ing.

Why are so many hos­pi­tal beds oc­cu­pied, at a tremen­dous ex­pense com­pared to home-care costs, by peo­ple who, if given the choice, would opt to spend their fi­nal days at home?

It is unac­cept­able that our prov­ince pro­vides no fund­ing for pal­lia­tive care. To make it more baf­fling, the present gov­ern­ment ac­tu­ally cut fund­ing for home care.

We want to add our voices to those who have al­ready spo­ken out pub­licly, both health-care work­ers and those who have ex­pe­ri­enced the ben­e­fits of pal­lia­tive care as a fam­ily bless­ing. We call on all those seek­ing of­fice in the com­ing elec­tion to ac­knowl­edge the role of pal­lia­tive care in pro­vid­ing a sus­tain­able health-care sys­tem and to work to fund it ac­cord­ingly.

Vida Hood, Ju­lia MacQuar­rie, Ch­eryl De­veau MacDaniel, Marie Mac­Neil, Shirley Hartery

Port Hawkes­bury

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