Funding needed for palliative care
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