Mid-Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC)
Wednesday, November 01, 2017
On November 1st the Social Service Worker placement students from Humber College were given the opportunity to experience a day hospice that HHA started a while ago. The theme for this day was “Orientalism.” We started the day by helping to set up the tea ceremony as well as a crafts table where clients could make paper fans. The turn out was smaller than expected but still left a lasting impression of just how much HHA positively impacts the lives of its clients.
Over tea, the program coordinator, the clients and the four SSW placement students talked about a variety of topics. We learned about the significance of a tea ceremony and how to use chopsticks. We talked about diverse cultures, and experiences that each of us had had. Over lunch the conversation continued to flow easily and each of the students got to talk to the clients one-on-one.
I expected a day hospice program to be similar to a support group, but quickly realized that this program was not at all what I expected it to be. I learned that
a day hospice is a chance for clients to take a break or a vacation from their illness.
Living with a terminal illness is exhausting; some of the clients mentioned this as their reason for attending the day hospice. The clients talked about how they are either stuck at home because their illness prevents them from being able to be as independent as they once were; which is why some of the clients came with their caregivers. They also talked about how because of their illness they’re constantly thinking about appointments and medications and other things related to their illness, they no longer have time to do things or even think about the things that they enjoy. This is the reason programs, like day hospice, are so invaluable. The day was relaxed and easy and there was no pressure to participate or do anything you didn’t want to.
Most importantly, illness was not the focus of the day.
Feedback from clients was positive and they were all thankful for the program. One client’s caregiver was especially thankful for receiving a call that invited his relative to day hospice because she doesn’t typically get to go anywhere or do anything.
While we faced a few challenges at the beginning of the day, I think we all learned a lot about how to plan a day program. The most important thing that I took away from this experience was that the programs HHA offers are greatly appreciated and the awareness of our organization will only continue to grow as more and more people share their positive experiences. With each event, or program I think we all continue to grow and learn together. This experience was such a wonderful way to validate and really illustrate how uplifting and hopeful end of life care can be.