Palliative care more than just end-of-life option

Mar 25, 2019 | News & Conference

We would like to thank The Casket for covering the story about Palliative care more than just end-of-life option on March 25th, 2019.

Antigonish Palliative Care -

Antigonish Town and County Palliative Care Society members John R. MacDougall (left), Joyce VanBerkel, Anne Marie Long, Larry Starzomski, holding a book donated by Anne Camozzi that she created to support comfort and provide distraction from pain and suffering, outside the St. Martha’s Regional Hospital palliative care unit. The society has been at the forefront of its establishment. Members Dr. Philip Cooper, Marie Nickerson, Kaye Marie Chisholm, Chuck Boyd, Sharon MacInnis, Garry Fiddler, Carla Bond and Diane MacKinnon were unavailable for the photo. Contributed – Corey LeBlanc

“Although it has only been operating for less than one year, the St. Martha’s Regional Hospital’s palliative care unit has touched countless lives.

“It has made a huge difference in so many ways,” Dr. Phillip Cooper, one of the palliative care physicians in the region, said.

He added in the hospital “we have always provided care in less than ideal conditions,” noting it had taken place, with little or no privacy, in four-bed wards.”

Staying at Home

The opening of the new unit does not mean an end to offering palliative care at home.

“It is wonderful (the unit), but it is not for everyone,” Cooper said, noting most patients opt to receive their care at home. 

Palliative care team members work with the family to develop a support and care plan for them.

If there is special equipment required to carry out that ‘stay-at-home’ plan., the Antigonish Town and County Palliative Care Society is there to help, including providing home supports, education, comfort and dignity to people have illnesses, their families and caregivers.

The volunteer organization also provides monitor, pill organizers, bed pans, bed rails, hospital bed-side tables and other equipment to patients who may not be able to afford it.

“We are so pleased to be able to support this work”, society member John R. MacDougall said.

He noted providing equipment is just one of the many focuses for the society.

“If providing funding to purchase the necessary equipment or supports allow someone to stay at home, if they choose, or stay home a little longer before they must go to the new unit, is an incredible gift,” he added.

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