Palliative Care Education Provided to Community Caregivers

Palliative Care Education Provided to Community Caregivers

The Extra Mural Program (EMP) of the Miramichi Regional Health Authority (MRHA) recently held a one-day education session for health care professionals who provide palliative care in the community. A total of 75 health care professionals from the medical community, hospital, nursing home, Extra-Mural program, and community home care attended the session. Participants were from the areas of  Miramichi, Kent County and the Acadian Peninsula.

In the fall of 2005, the Miramichi Regional Health Authority received additional funding through a provincial and federal government partnership to enhance palliative care services provided by the Extra Mural Program. “Individuals facing a terminal illness are choosing to die at home rather than in hospital,” says Suzanne Matchett, acting palliative care coordinator for the EMP. National statistics indicate that 90 percent of palliative care patients wish to die at home.

As part of this process, additional education was requested from health care professionals involved in delivering palliative care in the community, as providing dignified, compassionate, quality end-of-life care requires specialized knowledge and training. The Extra Mural Program is committed to support and ensure the development of staff in areas such as pain management and spiritual care.

The one day education session addressed topics associated with equipment needs, Do Not Resuscitate Orders, ethics, and symptom management. Guest speakers included Dr. Sydney Grant, palliative care physician for the River Valley Health Authority, Dr. Carl Hudson, vice president of medical services and director of palliative care for the MRHA, Miramichi EMP occupational therapist Diane Doucet-Lirette, Miramichi Regional Hospital occupational therapist Erin Brodie, Miramichi EMP social worker Carole Godin-Manuel and Miramichi Regional Hospital social worker Paula Foley.

Matchett says feedback from participants was very positive. “The enhanced EMP palliative care services compliment palliative care services provided at the Miramichi Regional Hospital, allowing more terminally ill patients the option of dying at home or returning to receive hospital care at any time,” says Matchett.