Last week was Canada’s National Hospice Palliative Care Week. So what is palliative care? Since its inception in Canada in the 1970’s, things have changed quite a bit. Only a few years ago, the term palliative care and the public’s general understanding, was that it meant the end was imminent and all proactive treatment was to be stopped. Patients would hear the term ‘palliative care’ and it would mean less care, and that accepting it meant doctors will stop trying to help.
Last year I blog on understanding palliative care as well. I shared a CBC interview with Dr. Brain Goldman in discussing that I felt a new name is needed. Well, there is no terminology but hopefully there will be a new understanding. The approach now is ‘living as comfortably as possible’ until death. For some, medical assistance in dying (MAID) may hasten the process. Regardless The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association shares that it is about ‘living well, right to the end’, whenever the end is.
There is still much stigma and misconception however generally in understanding what Palliative Care means. CBC Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway spoke with Dr. Desmond Leung, a palliative care doctor from North York General Hospital.
As Dr. Leung shared, we may fear death but the hope is we don’t have to fear the process leading to it. Supports and resources and care will continue to be provided to the patient and family. I will be meeting with Dr. Leung later this week when I attend a family meeting for my 97 year old client, who wants to go home so she can go gently into the good night- on her terms.