Frequently Asked Questions

What is hospice care?
The focus of hospice care is providing the support for each individual to die painlessly with dignity, ensuring that people and their loved ones receive care and resources to allow that to happen. Hospice focuses on caring, not curing and, in many cases, care is provided in the person’s home. Hospice care can also be provided in freestanding hospice centres, hospitals, and other long-term care facilities (From National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization). Hospice care is care that is designed to give support to people in the final stages of a terminal illness.  It focuses on comfort and quality of life rather than cure.  Hospice is a philosophy, but can also be a place – like a residential hospice – or a program like our Hospice without Walls.

What is palliative care?
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual (World Health Organization).

When did Prairie Hospice start offering it’s “Hospice Without Walls” program to those needing and wanting hospice services in their homes?
January 1, 2013.

Do Prairie Hospice Volunteers provide medical care to their clients?
No. We do not provide any form of medical care. That type of care is typically provided by the Palliative Home Care program of the Saskatchewan Health Authority. We do not do physical transfers or lifting of clients and will call Home Care if clients require that kind of service.

How are volunteers selected and trained?
Volunteers are required to have a criminal record check and a drivers license. Interviews and reference checks are performed to assess aptitude and suitability for this very special work. The training sessions are extensive and cover subjects such as communication; confidentiality; Prairie Hospice policies regarding volunteer procedures and safety; comfort care; loss, grief and bereavement; and self care of a volunteer. Our volunteers are the “Heart of Hospice without Walls”.

How are our Volunteers supported in this emotionally challenging work?
Our volunteers have total access to the Volunteer Coordinators throughout their service, including a debriefing session after each client death.  Additionally, there are regular inservice training events and support meetings for the volunteers. These events allow the volunteers to support one another, learn from one another’s experiences, ask questions of the Volunteer Coordinators, impact policy development and generally unite as a team of Prairie Hospice Volunteers.

What kinds of services do Prairie Hospice Volunteers provide?
One of our greatest gifts to our clients and their families is the provision of respite to the family members who are often on duty 24-7 with their loved one.  For those who live alone in the city, we are sometimes the only consistent social support they have at their end of life. Our volunteers will often simply “be there” – sitting quietly with our client, reading, playing games, or visiting over tea. They also help with some of the instrumental activities of daily living that allow clients to live independently in the community – buying groceries, preparing food, taking care of simple household chores, and providing transportation.  We believe that people who are at end-of-life want to live their lives to the fullest extent possible in spite of their illness, so we provide services that make it possible for them to “live until they die”.  We try to help them be in the moment and experience joy in their lives in spite of their circumstances.

How much time do Prairie Hospice Volunteers spend with their clients?
Our volunteers commit to spend approximately 4 hours per week with their client. As our clients often fatigue easily, this time is commonly divided into more than one session per week. In cases where the client is totally alone without family or a caregiver, our Volunteer Coordinators may assign more than one volunteer to the client.

How will my donation be used?
Your donation will go to support all of the work of Prairie Hospice – to pay volunteer expenses and training costs, to remunerate staff, and to cover organizational costs such as office expenses and insurance.

How many staff members work for Prairie Hospice?
We have four part-time staff members. The part-time Executive Director provides support to the board, leadership and engagement for staff and volunteers, and builds productive relationships with donors, funders, and partners in the community. Two part-time staff job-share the Volunteer Coordinator position. They organize and participate in volunteer training, manage client intake, thoughtfully match volunteers with our clients, and provide support to all of our volunteers and clients, as needed. Our part-time Administrative Assistant provides support to staff and the board, handles financial and donor records, assists with volunteer recruitment and training, and attends to fundraising and recognition event details. These staff members are absolutely critical to our functioning. We operate with a volunteer board that contributes huge numbers of hours to sustain and grow Prairie Hospice.