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HCABC will include representatives from hospice organizations, government, health authorities, professional organizations, researchers, health care facilities, charities, and patient and family groups, to accelerate the improvement of hospice care in BC.
Issues facing British Columbians
The population of British Columbia is experiencing an important demographic shift; by 2036, one-quarter of the province’s residents will be aged 65 and over. Research indicates that older adults want to age and experience end-of-life at home and in their communities. However, the province’s healthcare and social systems are not currently equipped to adequately provide the necessary practical and psychosocial supports for ensuring that individuals living with serious illnesses can age and die in the place of their choosing.
Individuals Facing Serious Illness of End-of-life and Hospice Care in BC
– End-of-life experiences for individuals living with serious illnesses and their caregivers can be physically and emotionally painful, and often involve many difficult personal decisions about autonomy, care planning, and death. Addressing the psychosocial and practical dimensions of living with a serious illness, frailty, and/or grief is a central component to enhancing wellbeing and quality of life for individuals and their caregivers.
– The psychosocial needs of individuals living with serious illnesses and their caregivers can include supports for spiritual wellbeing, coping mechanisms, isolation and loneliness, grief, cultural sensitivities, and other emotional needs. Their practical needs may include housework, physical care, system navigation, informational needs, equipment retrieval and setup, financial and legal support, and respite care.
– Hospice Palliative Care (HPC) provides comfort and support to individuals, their families, and loved ones during a serious illness, in the last stages of life, or while coping with grief and loss. HPC services aim to help these individuals have the best quality of life possible by taking a person-centered approach to meeting their psychosocial and practical needs.
– There are currently over 70 community-based, not-for-profit hospice organizations across British Columbia. According to a 2019 survey conducted by the British Columbia Centre for Palliative Care, these hospices support over 10,000 individuals monthly as well as over 300 hospice beds across various care settings and facilities in the province.
– Hospice services encompass diverse psychosocial dimensions such as palliative support, vigil support, spiritual support, complementary therapies, assistance with activities of daily living, symptom management, day programming, grief support, caregiver support, and respite programming. The majority of hospices also deliver a variety of education sessions focused on enhancing the general public’s self-care skills and supporting their engagement with advance care planning.