Posted by Jennifer May-Anderson on Apr 08, 2019
Bill MacKay introduced today's speaker, Jennifer May-Anderson, pictured here with Bill MacKay and Andrew Bandler.  She is on a mission to raise awareness about the issues facing our communities today in the areas of hospice palliative care and end of life issues.  Trained as a broadcast journalist and minister, she has a unique twenty year background in communications, public relations, theology and spiritual issues, as well as non-profit management and governance.  Jennifer has been a radio news reported and anchor, logistics manager, church leader, and communications professional and now hangs her hat at Hospice Quinte as the Executive Director.  She has been a committed member of the Quinte area since settling here to attend Loyalist College in 1994.  Jennifer and her husband Glenn have a blended family of five children, most of whom now spend their time out of the nest.
Jennifer was very glad when Tracy invited her to speak to us again.  She is very excited to share with us information about Hospice Quinte and what they do.  Hospice Quinte changes lives for the better.  For the terminally ill, their families, and the bereaved by offering them support and companionship through no cost visiting hospice services and support groups. What is Hospice Palliative Care?  Palliative, or comfort, care is appropriate for people of any age at any stage of a serious illness.  Hospice Care is generally for those who have six or fewer months to live and who are no longer receiving active or curative treatment.  It provides focus on relieving suffering and improving quality of life, comfort and dignity.  They support the family and caregivers during the illness of their loved one and during bereavement.  When a cure is no longer possible, provides comfort and dignity for clients and a support system for the family and caregivers.  Provides a safe refuge from the difficult journey of life-limiting illness, death and grief.
Hospice Quinte services the municipalities of Quinte West, Belleville, Deseronto, Tyendinaga Township and Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.  
Hospice Quinte is committed to offering support for individuals facing a life-threatening illness to help them live with comfort, meaning, dignity and hope.  Their in-home visiting program provides reassurance to caregivers as well as companionship and comfort to those who are terminally ill.  Their visiting Hospice program provides respite for caregivers and a volunteer to visit with hospice palliative care patients who are in the terminal stage of life limiting illness.  They visit in homes, hospital and long term care facilities.  Their volunteers can provide up to four hours of service each week, to be scheduled as needed.  They provide social, emotional, and practical support to the patient and their family, friends and caregivers.  Hospice Quinte Volunteers are trained and understand the importance of dignity, independence, confidentiality, beliefs, choices, faith and culture.  These services are provided free of charge.
Hospice Quinte offers 8 week "Grief Toolbox" support groups throughout the year.  These groups are for anyone 18 or older who has suffered the loss of a loved one, whether that loved one be a child, a young person, parent, sibling, a close relative, neighbour or work colleague. The groups are closed, which means that the same group members attend for all eight weeks and no new members join.  The two hour sessions are structured and cover key topics such as understanding the grief experience, handling the difficult emotions of grief, managing the stress of change, preparing for special occasions, and finding meaning after loss.  With compassionate and helpful care, grieving persons can find themselves enriched by the experience of a bereavement support group.  Twice a month Drop-In Caregiver Support groups assist those who are caring for someone with a terminal illness. Currently they are held at the Hospice Quinte office in the Bayview Mall in Belleville.  
In 1985 Regional Hospice of Quinte Inc was formally established on March 7, with an eight member Board of Directors.  In 1987 Hospice Quinte had 21 members and received $1,156 in donations and incurred $982 in expenses.  In 2017 Hospice Quinte submitted a business plan and capital funding applications to the South East LHIN for a 6 bed Hospice Care Centre. From 2017- 2018 they have 5 full time staff, 143 active volunteers of all types.  11,436 hours of community support which is the equivalent of $196,434 service value.  They are funded 26% through the South East Local Health Integration Network.  The rest of their funding is from generous community donors.
Alot of people when they think of Hospice they think of 80 or 90-year-olds.  In actual fact (2017-2018 fiscal year) 39% were aged 18 - 65.  Only 52% were over the age of 65.  Largest diagnosis is 80% cancer and 11% heart and lung disease.  75% of Canadians would prefer to die at home, 67% die in hospital.  There were 267,213 deaths in 2016 - the highest level since the Vital Statistics registration system was introduced in the 1920s.  The number of deaths recorded each year in Canada is generally trending upward.  90% of us will be in need for Hospice.  65% of family caregivers are under 50 years of age, with 64% of them working full time or part time, or being self-employed.  Today palliative care clients are primarily cared for by family members - a staggering 86% being looked after by their spouse, partner, children or children-in-law.  It takes an average of 54 hours a week to care for a dying loved one at home.  Over one-quarter of caregivers, or 2.2 million individuals, could be considered "sandwiched" between care-giving and raising children.  Most of them are women between the ages of  35 and 44, and are helping their parents or parents-in-law, while also having at least one child under 18 living at home.
In 2017 the city of Quinte West donated 3.5 acres of land and pledged $1 million toward the construction of the Hospice Quinte Care Centre and the South East LHIN pledged $105,000 per year per bed.  In 2018 the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care announced $1.2 million in funding for the construction of the centre.  In 2019 the city of Belleville pledged $1 million to the project.  This building will feature 6 private bedrooms with private outdoor patios, private family rooms, gathering spaces and lounges.  As per HPCO, the cost of care in a hospital palliative care bed is approximately $850-$1,000 per day and the cost increases in the last month of a patients life.  In comparison the cost of a community-based hospice palliative bed is estimated at $460 per day.
The new 6-bed Hospice Quinte Care Centre will provide a full continuum of palliative care services close to home.  Care will be provided 24/7 at no cost to the client or their family.  Care for patients will be provided by a highly skilled interdisciplinary team of physicians and allied health care providers, working collaboratively with highly trained volunteers.
The quality of care provided to people at the end of their life is one of the key indicators of the values of a community.