Those who provide care to others with a life-threatening or serious illness play an important role in advocating for access to quality palliative and end-of-life care for their patients and clients. In Hospice Palliative Care, we ask ourselves the question, “Would I be surprised if this person died in the next year?” If the answer is “no”, then our duty and desire as health care providers is to ensure that they have the support they need to make difficult decisions along with the proper treatment and pain and symptom management to die well, and ensure their family has the necessary support to accompany them and to grieve well.
If your patient is in hospital at either campus of CKHA, ensure a referral is made to the Palliative/Supportive Care Team, who can work with you to identify goals of care and symptom management support. The Palliative Care nurse will work with the LHIN Home & Community Care Coordinator in hospital to determine eligibility for hospice services. In some cases the patient may return home with community services until they are closer to end of life and will enter hospice at the appropriate time.
In order to begin the application process for hospice admission, the Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) is normally at 50% or below. The Care Coordinator will work with the Hospice Coordinator and determine eligibility and appropriate time for hospice admission, which is normally when the PPS is closer to 30%, although many factors are taken into consideration. Their prognosis should be < 3 months.
It is important that potential residents understand prior to coming, that hospice is geared towards supportive end-of-life care, which manages symptoms and provides comfort, but that there is no further active treatment provided. (eg. chemotherapy, medical tests, IV fluids, blood transfusions etc…)
The provincial average for residential hospice stay is 2 to 3 weeks. At Chatham-Kent Hospice, residents are made aware upon admission that should their condition stabilize and extend their life expectancy beyond three months, there may be a discussion with the care team about a more appropriate care environment which could include returning home for a period of time or placement in another assisted environment.
Click here to download the Hospice Admission Guidelines.