The Canadian Virtual Hospice provides support and personalized information about palliative and end-of-life care to patients, family members and health care providers.
The website www.virtualhospice.ca and www.carrefourpalliatif.ca is full of practical information to make life easier for family caregivers.
Launched in 2004, Virtual Hospice was established to help address the lack of resources for patients and families dealing with life-threatening illness and loss. The Virtual Hospice provides 24-hour access to up-to-date, evidence-based information Canadians can trust on a spectrum of physical, emotional and spiritual topics. Health facilities across Canada regularly printed off this information for patients and families. The site also has a listing of national, regional, and local resources that enables visitors to access the services they need quickly.
The Canadian Virtual Hospice helps caregivers:
- navigate the health system;
- understand what to expect from quality end-of-life care;
- care for someone at home;
- discuss difficult issues with patients, family and health providers;
- better understand the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges faced near the end of life.
One of the most popular features, called Ask a Professional, connects Canadians directly with health providers specially trained in palliative care who provide detailed confidential responses to their questions. Once you are registered click on Ask a Professional to access the Virtual Hospice team of palliative care experts, including doctors, nurses, a social worker and a spiritual care provider. People who ask questions receive detailed, personal answers within three business days, and often within 24 hours.
So far, the team has answered more than 700 questions, ranging from explaining what to expect as illness progresses, how to talk about difficult issues, and practical advice on how to best offer physical, emotional and spiritual support. This feature is very popular with health care professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and social workers, who ask detailed clinical questions about complex or difficult cases.
In Canada, over 250,000 people die each year, approximately 10 per cent are veterans. Only five to 15 per cent of Canadians who could benefit from palliative care do so. The Virtual Hospice can help veterans and their family caregivers understand what they can and should expect of quality end-of-life care, and to navigate the health-care system to achieve the best possible quality of care. Virtual Hospice can make a difficult time a little easier.
Serving You is written by Legion command service officers. To reach a service officer call toll-free 1-877-534-4666, or consult a command website.