Last week we, HHA members Tracey Robertson and Merri-Lee Agar, had the honour of being guests on the 'Health Talk Matters" show hosted by Katie Scott and Miranda Ferrier, both representatives of the OPSWA (Ontario Personal Support Worker Association).
The Home Hospice Association is very happy to be working with OPSWA to create a very helpful online training program. This program will help PSW's specialize in Palliative Care. As it stands now, when PSW's train in school a very limited amount of information and training goes into Palliative care.
84% of Canadians have no access to hospice or palliative care. The Home Hospice Association and OPSWA recognize that this is a HUGE number of people who are dying in a way that they would not have chosen.
Our members feel passionate about providing the best of Hospice care to our communities. Most of the volunteers who work with Home Home Hospice Association have had an experience that leaves them knowing and believing that there has to be different solutions made available to Canadians. We want to be able to provide people with a place to die where they can continue to LIVE during their terminal illness journey.
Dying can be a beautiful experience. If a person can have a dying journey where they are kept in their home where they are most comfortable, with the people and pets that they love, and being provided with the best quality home care they need to be at peace.
Why does the Home Hospice Association want to appear on Health Talk Matters?
Home Hospice is about providing about Quality of Life, and that means for the person who is dying, but also for their family members and even their pets!
Not every person who is diagnosed with a terminal illness will die. Not every person will die in days, weeks, or months. Some live for years.
Canada is one of the only countries that defines Palliative Care as support for when we are told to "Get our affairs in order". Around the world, hospice is better known as care provided as soon as someone gets that terminal diagnosis.
So much of what the Home Hospice Association wants to do is to provide LIFE in the face of death.
What is LIVING WHILE DYING?
This speaks to the Quality of Life. Often times when someone receives a terminal diagnosis, people lose hope.
We at HHA, want to prove that you can still LIVE, and still have Quality of Life while you may be dying,
Leave a Legacy- let pieces of you LIVE on even after you have passed away. Leave something so that your offspring know who you are, know your favourite song, know your life story.
We want to shift hope from having a long life, to having quality of life even if its shorter.
We are all going to die. It is the only thing we all have in common.
When we think about it, we don't really know how long we have to live.
When a person has a terminal diagnosis they almost have an opportunity to LIVE better, because they MAY have a window and know that they have a defined amount of time to LIVE their life.
Also, a residential Hospice is not a place to go to die. So many people in Canada believe that that is what Hospice is. "Heaven's waiting room" is what many people state when they think of a residential hospice.
Hospice is not a place where you wait to die, it is a place where you go to not wait to LIVE your life.
A dying person, is someone who is so fully present, so much wisdom and reality. We need to take what these people are teaching us and LIVE. We should not wait until the end to LIVE.
This is what is so special about being involved in Hospice. It can make us thankful for every moment of every day, to appreciate our LIVES while we are still breathing.
We have so many "First World Problems", but really it is a LIVING Persons Problem. For as long as we are alive we fall subject to concerning ourselves over matters that don't let us LIVE.
"In Canada, we have sterilized the process of Dying", says Tracey Robertson. We see ill people as people who are defined by their illness. "Katie" becomes, "Katie with cancer", or "Katie with Diabetes."
Hospice and palliative care should be about community. We as a village should be looking after our dying neighbours. No matter our talents in life we have something valuable to offer to someone else's journey through life, and especially when they are dying.
HHA and OPSWA are developing a Palliative Personal Support Working program. OPSWA says that this it the first of many specialized programs offered to PSW's in Ontario and eventually Canada.
Katie Scott is very passionate about Palliative Care. She feels that this course is "great because it will not be fundamentals, but will enable PSW's to speak the language. With this specialization a palliative team with family members. Signs, symptoms, medications (what they are, what they do, and the effects on the client). A PSW will feel confident in a Palliative situation, and be able to talk about how everyone is doing on the journey through terminal illness."
This program is expected to be launched in February 2017. It will be available online to PSW's who are interested in talking the specialization program.