Palliative care strategy gets $1M from Nova Scotia government
Palliative care doctors not available for home visits in all communities
The Nova Scotia government has announced it will give $1 million for the first year of a new strategy to improve palliative care in the province.
The strategy will go toward hiring a palliative care co-ordinator, three nurses and putting in place additional social work services.
Chris MacDougall's son Charlie died of bone cancer a decade ago, when he was 14 years old. Charlie died at his family's home in Truro.
MacDougall said his family felt alone in the struggle with their grief.
"Literally from the moment of the morning that Charlie passed away, that was the end of it. We didn't see the palliative care people again," he said. "It was kind of an abrupt ending to everything."
Grief support is available through the local hospice society, but fewer services remain across the province for patients who want to die at home.
In some communities, such as Digby and Musquodoboit, there are no palliative care doctors available for home visits —and 24-hour home care nursing is not provincewide.
"It's hard to expect a family to help care for a loved one at home when they can't access the services they need when they need it," said Dr. David Henderson, a palliative care specialist.
"People don't die nine to five."
According to Statistics Canada, Nova Scotia has the country's oldest population.
"As part of that whole integrative system that we're moving towards, end of life is very significant," said Health Minister Leo Glavine. "It's important to Nova Scotians that we do better."