Support for hospice care

All Ontario candidates in the federal election agreed on at least one thing-the need to improve end-of-life care for Canadians. A recent survey by the Hospice Association of Ontario shows that the concept of hospice care is gaining a new level of awareness and acceptance. 

All 150 candidates from the four major parties who answered the survey said they would “actively support and advocate for the implementation of a national strategy to improve quality end-of-life care for all Canadians.”

“We wanted to establish hospice palliative care as a non-partisan, all-party issue,” says HAO Executive Director Janet Napper. “We also felt that the election was an appropriate time to gauge the politicians’
level of commitment, both personally and politically, to this strategy.”

Hospice not a place
Napper emphasizes that hospice is not a place-it is a concept of care. Hospice care helps people with life-threatening and terminal illnesses live at home, or in home-like settings, as comfortably and as fully as possible. The focus is on caring, not curing, and on life, not death. Hospice care also extends to friends and family members, helping theto care for their loved one (and themselves) during times of

As many of us know from sad experience, there is no question about the need for end-of-life care.

In fifteen years:

  • Canada’s 75-80 age group will increase by 40 per cent
  • The 80-84 age group will increase by 53 per cent

Right now, about half of all hospice clients are over 65 years old. But hospice care spans all ages, and provides services to clients with a multitude of life-threatening and terminal illnesses, such as ALS, renal failure, AIDS and cancer.

Services are free
Volunteers are crucial to hospice care. Each hospice volunteer receives the necessary training and supervision to provide their clients with the highest quality of care. Although some hospice programs operate as free-standing facilities, most programs care for people in their own homes.

Hospice services are provided free of charge, with each hospice client directing his or her own care. There are more than 12,000 volunteers in Ontario giving more than 570,000 hours of service to their hospice each year.