by Glenda Jones
More than 35 people turned out on Saturday, August 18 at St. Paul’s Church to hear about the Hub’s Hospice without walls. Steering committee spokesperson, Glenda Jones described the project as a starting point with a call for volunteers who will train to work as part of a palliative care team approach to deliver compassionate care to those people who choose to spend their final days in their homes. The Hub took on this initiative in early spring, and has been diligent in meeting with health and social agencies, hospice facilities, local hospitals, churches, and service organizations in an effort to engage the whole community in their project. Already support from St. Paul’s Church, individuals, and service clubs has been very gratifying.
At present, the committee is working on a business plan to present to the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), the Mills Corporation, the local hospitals, and Community Care Access Centre, all of whom will be integral to the success of the project.
By early fall, the steering committee comprised of Hub members Glenda Jones, Eloise Caverson, Julia Thomas, Bonnie St. John, and Janet Douglass, will be ready to create a Board of Directors for the Hub Hospice. A coordinator will be selected to oversee volunteer interviews and a dedicated training programme which will be run in the spring of 2013. The hope is that by this time next year, there will be a group of trained volunteers who can be a valued part of the palliative care team in homes, wherever they might be: residences, long term care facilities, hospitals, wherever there is a need for compassionate companionship for families and clients. The coordinator will also become a one-stop centre for clients to contact when care is needed. Having a good network on which to draw, the coordinator will be able to assist in assuring the client receives the appropriate care.
The programme has room for development as well: on-going training, grief and bereavement counselling, day programmes for clients, and ultimately a hospice facility are part of the long term planning.
This idea of in-home palliative care is spreading throughout the rural areas, with a similar group starting up in Barry’s Bay. While hospitals are adopting palliative care principles within their own facilities, there is also a need for a team approach to provide personal care in people’s homes. The Ministry of Health has recognized this by increasing the fees for physicians who make house calls. The nurses who attend to patients will appreciate the volunteers who will look after the non-medical needs, and the clients they serve will have a reliable and constant advocate as part of their care team.
For information on volunteer training, please pick up a brochure at the Hub, 118 Mill St. during business hours.