Prov­ince ex­tends drug cov­er­age

Gov­ern­ment in­vest­ing an ad­di­tional $750,000 for pain and symp­tom man­age­ment

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - The Province - BY JIM DAY

The prov­ince is ex­tend­ing a pi­lot project that pro­vides drug cov­er­age for pain and symp­tom man­age­ment to those who wish to spend their last days at home.

Mary Hughes, chair of ad­vo­cacy and ed­u­ca­tion with the Hospice Pal­lia­tive Care As­so­ci­a­tion of P.E.I., said she is “de­lighted’’ with gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to in­vest an ad­di­tional $750,000 to con­tinue cov­er­ing the cost and de­liv­ery of the project over the next 18 months.

“ They ex­tended it be­cause it is work­ing well,’’ said Hughes.

The Pal­lia­tive Home Care Drug Pi­lot Project is an ex­ten­sion of the in­te­grated Pal­lia­tive Care Pro­gram, which aims to en­hance client and fam­ily op­tions for pal­lia­tive care through ac­cess to trained, qual­i­fied health-care teams in the most ap­pro­pri­ate set­ting.

The Cana­dian Hospice Pal­lia­tive Care As­so­ci­a­tion re­ports that more than 75 per cent of peo­ple pre­fer to die at home rather than in a hospi­tal or other health-care fa­cil­ity.

“ We say that we pro­vide to­tal care in health-care fa­cil­i­ties and we do but it can never be the same as home,’’ said Hughes.

“For peo­ple to be able to be at home — to die at home — for some­one to tell you 24/7 ‘I love you’, be­cause that is what it says, means so much.’’

Cur­rie says the pi­lot project, which be­gan op­er­at­ing one year ago, is de­signed to give peo­ple choices and to com­pas­sion­ately pro­vide re­spect and dig­nity to in­di­vid­u­als in the fi­nal stages of life.

“Giv­ing in­di­vid­u­als the op­tion to re­main at home helps strengthen com­mu­ni­ties and re­duces the emo­tional and fi­nan­cial bur­den on fam­i­lies,’’ he said.

“ This project is a solid ex­am­ple of how im­prove­ments to ser­vices for Is­lan­ders are be­ing achieved through in­te­grated health sys­tem change.’’

Cur­rie adds that an in­crease in pal­lia­tive home care treat­ment takes pres­sure off the Is­land’s health-care sys­tem.

To make this project a pro­vin­cial pro­gram, it must first be de­vel­oped in phases based on rec­om­men­da­tions that will be de­ter­mined by the up­com­ing re­sults of an on-go­ing eval­u­a­tion process. The pi­lot project man­ager and staff of the cur­rent In­te­grated Pal- lia­tive Care Pro­gram are car­ry­ing out this process.

Cur­rie, for one, likes what he sees so far.

“I think the num­bers and the statis­tics that we showed to­day (Fri­day) was that this pro­gram is a good pro­gram, it is work­ing well, and the in­vest­ments that we have made into this pro­gram are con­tin­u­ing to show that it is for the right rea­sons,’’ he said.

Hughes hopes the gov­ern­ment will ex­tend the cov­er­age to “peo­ple who are a lit­tle bit more mo­bile, up and around, so they can en­joy it for a longer pe­riod of time.’’

El­i­gi­bil­ity for the project is based on a num­ber of cri­te­ria that de­fine the pa­tient’s need for endof-life care.

Staff trained in pal­lia­tive care work closely with fam­ily and care­givers to en­sure the pa­tient is a good fit.

Once it is de­ter­mined that a pa­tient qual­i­fies, and is reg­is­tered with Phar­macy Ser­vices, clients are able to ob­tain pal­lia­tive spe­cific med­i­ca­tions from their own lo­cal phar­ma­cist.

Guardian photo by Heather Taweel

Dr. Mireille Le­cours, left, pro­vin­cial pal­lia­tive care med­i­cal con­sul­tant, joins Premier Robert Ghiz and Mary Hughes of the Hospice Pal­lia­tive Care As­so­ci­a­tion of P.E.I. for an an­nounce­ment Fri­day on gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to ex­pand the pal­lia­tive home care drug pi­lot project.

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