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 Saskatoon Health Region. 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 the approval of staff and board members for aptitude and suitability for this very special work. The training package is 30 hours in duration and covers subjects such as communication; confidentiality; understanding the medical aspects of hospice care; comfort care; loss, grief and bereavement; culture and diversity; and self care of a volunteer. We have trained over 100 volunteers, with more training planned for 2017. 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 Coordinator throughout their service, including a debriefing session after each client death. Additionally, there are regular monthly support meetings for the volunteers. These meetings allow the volunteers to support one another, learn from one another’s experiences, ask questions of the Volunteer Coordinator, 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 4 hours per week with their client. As our clients often fatigue easily, this time is commonly divided into two 2-hour sessions per week. In cases where the client is totally alone without family or a caregiver, our Volunteer Coordinator 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. Prairie Hospice has been an active member of the Hospice and Palliative Care Network, a citywide group of service providers and others who are interested in end-of-life care. Prairie Hospice will continue to advocate for and support endeavours to make a residential hospice a reality for Saskatoon.
How many staff members work for Prairie Hospice?
We have three part-time staff members. Two part-time staff job-share the volunteer coordinator position. Among many other things, 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 support person provides much needed support to the Board, handles financial records including donations and tax receipts, keeps volunteer and donor records, solicits and screens volunteer applicants, attends to event details, and facilitates communication. 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.
What is the annual operating budget for Prairie Hospice?
Our annual operating budget for 2016-17 is $172,020. We do not collect any kind of fee from our clients, but rather rely on grants, in memoriam gifts, fundraisers, and the generous donations of our supporters.