British Columbia is facing an important demographic shift in the coming years that will lead to growing demands for hospice care. By 2036, one-quarter of the province’s residents will be over the age of 65. Hospice Societies in B.C. and the Yukon are integral in meeting the increased strain on the healthcare system caused by the demographic shift and current gaps further fueled by COVID-19.
Hospice care is a person-centered approach that aims to improve the quality of life of individuals living with life-limiting illnesses, while also ensuring the well-being of caregivers and loved ones impacted by the person’s illness or death. “Many people in our communities are unaware of the diversity of supports available to them through local hospice societies,” says Pablita Thomas, Executive Director for the BC Hospice Palliative Care Association. “Hospices not only support the dying within health facilities and residential hospice houses, but also provide a diverse range of psychosocial and suite of services that support palliative care patients who wish to remain in their homes and their loved ones.”
Hospice education programs raise awareness and knowledge of the benefits of hospice care and how to access these services when needed. Hospice services are provided in a variety of settings including in-home, long-term care homes, hospitals, and assisted living residences. Outside of palliative care/symptom management support, additional services hospices offer include grief and bereavement, bedside vigiling, spiritual, complementary therapies, assistance with daily living activities, caregiver and respite, self-care skills, and Advance Care Planning.
Throughout the month of May, the BC Hospice Palliative Care Association (BCHPCA) will be leading the charge in honouring B.C. and Yukon Hospice Societies. On May 3, Hospice Month will be kicked off with the first annual Wildflower Bloom Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to raise funds for hospice societies while also raising awareness of the many services they offer. “Since hospice services are as diverse as wildflowers, we will be selling wildflower seeds to bloom in appreciation of community hospice societies across B.C. and the Yukon,” explains Donna Flood, BCHPCA President. “Support for this campaign will mean more people in our communities will become aware of the hospice services available to them and their loved ones, to ease the pains and challenges of their serious illness, end of life, or grief journeys.” The fundraising efforts will also help hospice societies continue to deliver quality services throughout the province and territory.
To support your local hospice and find out more about the Wildflower Bloom Campaign, please visit this link.