What comes to mind when you hear the word “palliative”? Hospitals? End of life? Cancer? Hospice? Hearing “palliative care” can evoke so many thoughts & feelings for people, yet it’s a term that is sometimes misused or misunderstood.
Palliative care is often synonymous with end of life, but Palliative care is actually so much more than that! Canadian Virtual Hospice describes it as a “type of health care for patients and families facing life-limiting illness.” Palliative care helps patients to achieve the best possible quality of life , throughout a serious illness and can include end of life care. This type of care ensures the best quality of life for those facing symptoms that impact things like their mobility, career, recreation and leisure options, physical and mental health, independence and pain management. With Palliative care, hope becomes less about a cure and more about living life as fully as possible.
This hospice palliative model has been adopted by the Prairie Rose Hospice Palliative Care Society (PRHPCS) and guides them as they work to promote awareness of the concept of hospice palliative care through workshops, guest speakers, and more. They also provide information and resources to the public, caregivers, and the medical community. While families can access palliative care through the public health system, there is a need for more education, support and resources. Families are often left trying to navigate through a serious illness or end of life care on their own and it doesn’t have to be this way. Support is absolutely crucial for those facing a serious life limiting illness and for those who love and care for them. The Prairie Rose Hospice Palliative Care Society is there to offer this much needed support to families in our community, while also educating about and advocating for hospice palliative care.
Prairie Rose Hospice Palliative Care Society is a non-profit society, run by a volunteer board. All monies raised stay in our communities and go directly to supporting local hospice palliative care and awareness; be it for beds to enable people to stay home longer, support to help them through the journey or education for caregivers and our volunteers to help those who need services.
Full Circle Foundation is proud to have the opportunity to work with PRHPCS this year as we embark on hosting our first Festival Of Trees event. As a committee we believe in the importance of palliative care. We know that there is work to be done in terms of the understanding around palliative and hospice care, as well as a need for funds to support the work that is being done in our community by PRHPCS. Festival of Trees allows us to address both of these areas in one fun filled & festive event. We have already gotten a glimpse of the passion and commitment the Prairie Rose Members have for their cause and we look forward to helping them share more of that with the community through the event.
“We are a group that believes that life matters, right until the last breath” We are hoping that our events and activities get ‘palliative care talks’ happening around gatherings at coffee tables – to let them know there is help in the community when they get told news that no one wants to hear” ~ PRHPCS Member
“Palliative care is not only for those on their end of life journey but for anyone who is facing a chronic disease with no likely hope for a cure.” ~PRHPCS Member
In addition to the funds being raised for PRHPC through Festival of Trees, we also wanted to shine a light on the specific programs and resources they offer in the hopes of raising awareness of the support that is available right here in our community.
Current Resources & Programs:
- Public Memorial Service twice a year for all those in the community who have lost a loved one. Provided in partnership with the Newell Christian Community NCC (Virtual services until Covid-19 Restrictions are removed
- In-Home Bed Program: This popular program supplies four hospital beds and bedside tables free of charge to those palliative care patients who choose to have care at home.
- Palliative Care Rooms: There are three palliative care rooms in the Brooks Health Centre and one hospital bed in Bassano Hospital. They provide small refrigerators, kettles, microwaves, blenders, televisions, and recliner chairs for family use.
- Trees of Hope Campaign: This traditional holiday campaign lights the Trees of Hope at the Brooks Health Centre with donations made either as a Christmas greeting or In Memory of a loved one. Tree lighting takes place the evening of the 3rd Monday in November.
- Grief Resources available at www.virtualhospice.ca , www.ahpca.ca & www.stronger-lifeconnections.com
- Comfort Bags: With community support they provide comfort bags for hospice palliative care clients. These bags contain not only small comfort items but also information on physical changes to be expected and information on resources that can be accessed.
- Education: In the past they provided a yearly full day in-service for the community as well as lunch and learn sessions on various topics related to palliative care. Recently, they hosted a 6 session palliative care volunteer education course. They are planning on bimonthly education sessions for volunteers and may host another full day inservice in the Spring. For details and updates you can visit their website.
In addition to these resources, the supporters and volunteers of Prairie Rose Hospice Palliative Care Society would love to one day see fully funded hospice care in partnership with community resources for Brooks and area. “Hope for Hospice Care” aims to make that dream a reality.
Those involved with PRHPCS often have experience to share in terms of their professional or personal experience with death and grief. They are a group who truly listens to the needs of the community and brings their unique perspective along to help shape the work of the society.
“When my husband was dying 7 years ago I felt very alone and unequipped when it came to understanding the journey of dying and how better to support him and myself through this important time of life.” ~PRHPCS Member
“I believe people are becoming more aware of our organization, gradually feeling more open to discussion……Death and dying still have such a stigma in our society; something people seem to fear talking about, so it will be a long road to really help people. But I think the more we can talk about it, share the often beautiful moments in it: the pain but the treasured memories as well, the greater our organization and our community will be.” ~PRHPCS Member
Serious illnesses, death and grief are a part of all of our lives. They are inevitably woven into each of our stories amongst the joy, excitement, triumphs, uncertainties and complications. End of life journeys will always be there, part of the natural peaks and valleys of our lives. We don’t have to navigate those valleys alone. Let’s talk more openly amongst friends and relatives about what palliative care is and how someday it may become a part of your family’s story. Let’s increase our understanding of the importance of palliative resources for end of life care but also before ~ when the quality of one’s time is so important. Challenge others in their understanding of the term palliative and share your knowledge and experience with them. The support and resources from Prairie Rose Hospice Palliative Care Society are an important part of our community and can be an important part of your family’s support system as well, if and when you need them.
We are so excited to host our very first Festival of Trees in support of PRHPCS and we hope you will join us in celebrating the work that they do and coming together as a community to contribute to this important cause. We look forward to kicking off the holiday season with all of you in a way that helps others and simultaneously fills our hearts and hopefully yours as well!
~ Carmen Powell
Full Circle Foundation