Hospice Care Gap in Nova Scotia

Categories: Care.

Currently Nova Scotians must choose to die either in the hospital – or at home. In a special keynote address today by retired Senator and palliative hospice care advocate, the Honourable Sharon Carstairs, P.C. spoke about the importance of continued advocacy for enhanced palliative hospice care in Atlantic Canada.

“Keeping people in their homes with hospice support or alternatively in a 24 hour hospice where the patient and their family have round the clock care is simply the right thing to do,” said Carstairs.  “It is the most humane care and it also makes economic sense – a true win/win accomplishment.”

Establishing residential hospice care will provide better care and ultimately help reduce health care costs for Nova Scotians.  The average per diem cost for an acute care bed in Capital Health is approximately $1000.00/day. The cost of delivering palliative care in a residential hospice bed has been shown to be significantly less than in acute care, with an average cost of $450.00/day.

“Residential hospices represent a caring patient and family centred approach to end of life care,” said Fred McGinn, Board Chair for the Hospice Society of Greater Halifax.  “It will provide an alternative setting to acute care that meets the needs of patients with progressive terminal illness who are unable to remain at home to die and do not require the acute care support of a hospital.”

The Hospice Society of Greater Halifax is a dedicated group of volunteers who are collaborating with government and community partners to address the gap by providing supportive services and working to establish residential hospice care in Nova Scotia. The Board recently released a business plan in 2012 outlining the potential framework of community partnerships and funding to make that vision a reality.

“This is about providing an enhanced quality of life, no matter how much time remains,” said Dr. Stephanie Connidis, a palliative care doctor and member of the board of the Hospice Society of Greater Halifax. “Nova Scotians deserve to have a hospice as an option so that they can get the physical, emotional and spiritual support they require in the final moments of a loved one’s life.”

To learn more about how to help make a residential hospice a reality in Nova Scotia, visit www.halifaxhospice.org.