Maison Vale Hospice and Warmhearts Palliative Caregivers join forces
Louise Paquette, CEO of the North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), said while most Canadians would prefer to die at home, 70 per cent die in hospital.
Between 2002 and 2005, 84 per cent of cancer patients in Ontario visited the emergency department during their last six months of life, said Paquette. Forty per cent of cancer patients went to an emergency department in their last two weeks of life, during the same period.
“This new model provides an opportunity for us to improve the quality of hospice palliative care and provide appropriate, co-ordinated, effective, and efficient services in our community,” said Abbas Homayed, chair of the hospice board. "We extend a sincere welcome to their staff and volunteers, who have now joined the hospice team.”
While the integration was officially completed April 1, 2014, and publicly celebrated Thursday, the hospice first launched its shared-care team, to provide palliative care at clients' homes and in the hospice, in September 2013.
In that time, the shared-care team has served 180 clients, Paquette said. She said 120 of those clients have since died, but 80 were able to spend their final moments at the location of their choice, rather than in hospital.
“We are now providing the right care at the right time,” Paquette said.
Mary Lou Trowell, a long-time Warmhearts board member, and former palliative care nurse, said volunteers are able to offer clients a different approach to care.
“They're just there for them and for their family,” she said.
Trowell said the volunteers come from all walks of life. Some were served by the program when their spouses died, while others decided volunteering with Warmhearts was their way to help others.
All Warmhearts volunteers must complete an accredited 30-hour orientation program before they can volunteer with palliative care clients.
“They learn about death and dying, how to communicate with a dying patient,” Trowell said.
The late Sudbury Councillor Fabio Belli was chair of the Warmhearts board before he died suddenly April 12.
“The integration of Warmhearts Palliative Caregivers and Maison Vale Hospice will bring the collective resources of the two organizations together and unify the efforts of staff and volunteers in providing quality hospice palliative care services to individuals and families from our community who are on their end of life journey,” Belli said in a statement only days before his death.
A tree on the Maison Vale Hospice grounds will be dedicated to the memory of Belli.