In many cases, family members become the primary care givers who may have their own special needs for support. It is helpful to contact support early, so that a relationship can be built and help can be provided in determining needs, options and choices.
When there may be many people involved in the management of an illness our Care Centre staff and volunteers can often be a consistent contact along with the family physician. Many people do not know what they need or what services are available. Support in planning can facilitate making informed choices and prevent crisis management and added stress.
Support services can take many different forms. We have provided a brief overview below and encourage anyone to contact us for more detailed information.
One to one Counselling sessions for people experiencing illness, grief, or loss
One to one Volunteer companioning in the home or at the Supportive Care Centre
Access to the Help-line, Information, Coordination of Care, AdvocacyArt/Play therapy primarily for children dealing with grief or loss
Bereavement Groups (walking group, relaxation group, grief support group)
Community services referrals (Home Care Nursing, Palliative Benefits Program)
Coping with the Holidays (gathering, education)
Life Stories audio recordings
Residential hospice care
Restorative Yoga for those living with cancer
Short term respite for caregivers (volunteers come to the home)
Men and women from the community volunteer their time to companion with individuals and families during the journey of illness, death and bereavement.
When people need to talk about their fears, sadness, or anxiety, individuals can access support from a trained volunteer. Volunteers can be a consistent person who is an outsider to many of the sensitive issues within a family. They understand the importance of confidentiality and offer a listening ear, resources, short-term respite, referral and help with practical arrangements.
Volunteers will offer support wherever the person lives: home or residential care facility. They will follow the individual if they are admitted to hospital and be there when they return home. They feel privileged to be invited into a family’s life at such a sensitive time and can be of tremendous assistance.
Access to the Help-line, Information, Coordination of Care, Advocacy
Individuals and families are often overwhelmed with the complexity of managing a serious illness, understanding the health care system and knowing how to access appropriate services at the appropriate time.
Individuals, families, friends or the general public are all welcome to access information, support, or assistance. Trained volunteers and staff are available at the Supportive Care Centre from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday by calling 604-948-0660 or visiting 4631 Clarence Taylor Crescent, Ladner.
Help is available in determining a family’s needs and how services can be used, as well as assistance in organizing resources and scheduling.
Life Stories audio recording
Patients are encouraged to look back on their lives and to affirm the importance of their experiences. Volunteers will provide an opportunity for individuals and/or family members to record their stories, memories or wishes. The experience of sharing life stories can be very therapeutic to the storyteller and is a way of giving meaning and value to one’s life. The audio recordings become a memento for families and friends to cherish.
Many patients find that relaxation therapy helps ease anxiety and helps to manage pain or other symptoms. Research shows that the use of meditation and relaxation techniques can help relax the body by decreasing heart rate, blood pressure and respiration. When this happens, the body relaxes and the blood flow to the muscles is decreased and instead blood flows to the skin and internal organs such as the brain.
The relaxation response results in a warm and comfortable feeling, often described as tranquil, yet alert. Various hormones and enzymes including endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers, are then released helping to boost the immune system and create a feeling of well-being. – Source BC Cancer Agency, Relaxation Therapy, 2001.
At the Supportive Care Centre, relaxation techniques are used to provide comfort and relaxation for individuals, family members and caregivers in both individual and group settings. In the group setting, one of the counsellors facilitates the group using music and visualization while volunteers offer foot and brow stroking to enhance the relaxation response. A personal relaxation tape can be made upon request. Drop-in Tuesday mornings at 10 am at the Supportive Care Centre. Wear comfortable clothing.
Respite for family caregivers is perhaps one of the greatest needs when caring at home for a loved one. When care becomes more concentrated or goes on for a long period of time, care givers are at risk of becoming overly fatigued and suffering burnout.
Home support is based on the care needs of the patient. If in the final days of life a caregiver requires additional community health worker hours, they are to contact their home care nurse and request it.
Delta Hospice trained volunteers will also provide respite to caregivers by offering time-out for short periods of time. This allows caregivers a break from the heavy demands of care giving for rest, appointments, shopping or recreation. Family members are able to be refreshed and better able to continue their care.
Each person has a spiritual dimension that is expressed in religious or philosophical beliefs and practices. Spiritual dimensions of our lives often provide us with our most profound experiences of fulfillment and unity and may also express themselves in some of our experiences of fear, guilt and brokenness.
Spirituality may be expressed in a variety of ways: formal and informal, religious and secular, including but not limited to symbols, rituals, practices, art forms, prayers and meditations.
The search for spirituality is both intimate and personal and may be heightened as one experiences a life threatening illness as well as when one confronts death. It is often a time when there is a need to find meaning in one’s life, hope and acceptance. It is important to find a place of comfort and peace. Each person’s needs and beliefs are different and will be respected by the hospice staff.
Spiritual Care at Delta Hospice is provided in the following ways:
A personal visit may be requested for a volunteer hospice worker for personal contact, companionship, conversation or exploring spiritual issues.
Professional counsellors are available for counselling on complex spiritual issues.
Our lending library has materials available that can help in understanding the spiritual journey.
We may refer to:
One of the local community clergy or spiritual groups.
A hospital Pastoral Care Program
- Fraser Health’s Spiritual Care Coordinator
Therapeutic Touch can have a relaxing effect for some who are experiencing pain or anxiety. Volunteers who have had additional training in this complementary therapy offer therapeutic touch upon request. Often patients who have received therapeutic touch at the Cancer Agency or in hospital are pleased to be able to access it at the Family Care Centre or their own home.
Vigil service involves a team of volunteers who make themselves available to sit at a bedside of someone who is within the last 72 hours of life. Up to 24-hour (continuous if requested) vigil service may be requested if resources are available. This support is to augment that of the family so that no one needs to die alone. A small booklet is kept at the bedside and filled in by the vigil team members as they visit. This may be presented to the family following the death. Volunteers offer to sit with the family at the bedside if they feel a need for support. Vigil support may also be initiated at other times during an advanced illness to give family members a chance to sleep.