You’ve been living with a terminal illness and your care team has said that the focus of treatment is changing from curative to comfort care; this may be the time to consider where and how you want to spend the last weeks and months of your life.
If you wish to remain at home, you should seek care from your local Home Care office. If you’re already connected with Home Care, this is a good time to ask them what services they can provide, as well as the type of access they have to palliative specialists and other services you might need in future.
If you think you might want to have hospice care in a setting other than home, you can find more information by:
- Contacting your local Home Care office
- You can call hospices you are aware of yourself to get information
- You can make other connections through the AHPCA online directory , the CHPCA services directory , or MyHealthAlberta .
Each hospice facility will have its own process for helping you decide when it’s the right time to be admitted (usually in the last few weeks of life,) and how they gather the information needed to meet your care needs. It usually involves a medical and/or nursing assessment, some legal/financial paperwork at the time of admission, and some coordination of your care such as medication and equipment being available at the hospice to meet your needs.
Criteria for admission to a hospice setting is also specific to each organization. In general, you must understand your prognosis, have completed any treatments aimed at cure, agree with the philosophy of hospice care, and have symptoms which can be managed at the facility. It’s important to speak with someone regarding how your end of life wishes match up to their criteria and available care.
In hospice palliative care, you will be cared for by a team consisting of a physician, nurse, social workers, counselors, home health aides, clergy, therapists, and volunteers. Each person works collaboratively with you and the team to provide care based in his or her area of expertise. The costs associated with this care vary with services, with many of them covered in whole, or part, by government health care coverage.
Still wondering if hospice care is right for you? Ask your doctor or nurse, or contact one of the resources above, and start asking questions. It’s never too early to start asking questions and discussing your wishes with those that care about and support you.
AND you can always call us at AHPCA; we’re here for you – let us help.
By: Pansy Angevine, AHPCA Board Chair