More emphasis needed on palliative care

October 2015   Comments

As a home care nurse, I am familiar with palliative care in our small rural community. In 2013, I lost both my parents, and I got to see an urban version of palliative care in acute care and long-term care. This snapshot was disturbing, as were the Canadian stats I found in subsequent research. The 2010 Senate report on palliative care states that only 30 per cent of Canadians who die an expected death receive some sort of palliative care.

In medicine, so much time and energy is spent on ensuring a great birth experience but relatively little on ensuring a good death. I believe all nurses should be equally prepared for these life experiences because death occurs in every area of care. We all need to be able to relieve the suffering around us at the end of life. One solution is to include palliative care as part of the curriculum in nursing and medical schools, so that every new grad will have at least basic knowledge around pain, nausea and dyspnea at the end of life and of how to intervene.

I really appreciate the work your magazine is doing to raise awareness on this important topic.

– Sandra Stanley, RN
Smithers, B.C.
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