For many years, palliative care was offered only in the final weeks or months of life when all curative treatments had been expended.
At that point in time, care shifted from cure to comfort. The health care sector worldwide now recognizes that people facing life-limiting conditions may live many years with their condition, yet many may never benefit from the comfort of a palliative care approach.
The palliative approach enhances living and the quality of life given to those faced with chronic, life-changing and life-limiting conditions. By following a palliative care approach after the diagnosis of a life-limiting condition a wholistic care plan takes into account an individual’s mental, physical, social and psychological needs as well as practical aspects of their condition.
“The palliative care services we offer at Glen Haven have expanded,” explains Glen Haven Manor CEO Lisa M. Smith. “Our health-care team is supportive, respectful and knowledgeable and we are always open to communications and conversations with our residents and their families. We have enhanced our palliative care services to include both the palliative approach and end of life palliative care.
Several members of the Glen Haven team have received special training and certification in palliative care. Ashley Lewis, one of Glen Haven’s RN is a certified hospice palliative care nurse while LPNs Tiffany Francis and Kayla Richardson have received specialized training in palliative care. Several other nurses on staff at Glen Haven also have specialized certification in gerontology.
“Ashley, Kayla and Tiffany are our Glen Haven palliative care services leads and each has completed specialized professional development in the area of palliative care which adds great expertise and passion to the program,” adds Director of Quality & Resident Care Heather Shepherd. “All areas of services at Glen Haven contribute to our residents’ quality of life and the scope of our staff’s expertise, from individualized personal care to therapeutic services, adds to the strength and depth of our palliative care approach.”
Smith said staff feels privileged to offer support to the residents and their families when end of life palliative care is needed as they deal with loss, grief and mourning.
“We want every detail and every aspect of our palliative care services to make a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of each resident,” she said, “and for their final days, weeks, months and years to be filled with exceptional care, golden moments, significant comfort measures, serenity and great dignity.”
Glen Haven has incorporated the dragonfly as a symbol of its palliative care services. Smith describes the dragonfly as a symbol of change and a deep meaning of life. “The dragonfly is said to be a guide to help one on important journeys, conveying strength, peace and harmony and sometimes is believed to be a messenger that offers comfort.
“Providing care that is person-centred, respecting residents’ rights and individuality, and demonstrating compassion and integrity when caring for our residents are true hallmarks of outstanding, wholistic care. Every person on our team contributes to our residents’ quality of life and well-being.”
A palliative care services booklet is available on the Glen Haven Manor Website and also in hard copy. There is a video on the Glen Haven Manor palliative care services which may be viewed through www.glenhavenmanor.ca.