Story Posted: 2023-08-16

Hospital Highlights: End-of-Life Care – A Comprehensive Approach

From the St. Paul’s Hospital & SPH Foundation 2022-23 Annual Review.

Pictured: Rosario Asegurado, Care Partner at the Hospice at Glengarda.

St. Paul’s Hospital has been leading end-of-life care in Saskatoon for more than a quarter of a century since the opening of the first Palliative Care Unit at St. Paul’s Hospital in 1990 and the construction of Saskatchewan’s first free-standing residential hospice, the Hospice at Glengarda, in 2021. For as long as St. Paul’s Hospital has held Palliative Care as a leadership area, we have been providing compassionate care to patients and their families, serving them in a manner that addresses the social, emotional, physical, cognitive and spiritual needs of people living with life-limiting illness.

St. Paul’s Hospital’s Palliative Care Unit

Our holistic and interdisciplinary approach optimizes quality of life at the end of life. Palliative Care Services works as a team of specialists to provide an extra layer of support to both patients and their families as they face requiring end-of-life care. Our holistic care approach endeavours to address the needs of the patient while honouring the person, rather than only their diagnosis.

This past year, the team on our Palliative Care Unit at the Hospital worked hard to bring home-like touches to the Unit and were excited to be able to once again open the kitchen and library areas for use by patients and families and to offer welcoming touches such as cookies baked and served by volunteers.

Your Support Provides Comfort

We are deeply thankful for community support, which has funded the purchase of items including fridges and art-hanging systems for each patient room, a tea cart with food items and beverages served to families by volunteers, an Art Cart brought to patients that allows them to choose art to display in their rooms, and software advancements to the virtual window in our spa room, where patients can enjoy the healing sights and sounds of nature while in the whirlpool bath. We also were able to purchase items for our family day rooms and kitchen, including lamps, children’s toys, coffee and condiments, and a new piano for patient and family use.

Pictured: Kerri Dolgopol, Manager of Nursing for 5th Medicine and Palliative Care.

Funds were recently raised for a Vocera paging system, a real-time voice communication system designed to keep mobile healthcare staff connected within the Hospital. This system will be installed in the coming year. Community donations created the Palliative Care Education Fund to support training and education for end-of-life caregivers and advanced important endowments to support holistic palliative care staffing and programming at St. Paul’s Hospital, the Hospice at Glengarda, and in the surrounding community. This year, St. Paul’s Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation served as lead sponsors for the Saskatchewan Hospice Palliative Care Conference hosted on June 9th and 10th at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon. Titled “Medicine for your Mind, Body and Soul,” the conference welcomed over 250 participants from across Canada and featured an impressive lineup of keynote speakers including Dr. Harvey Chochinov, Dr. Srini Chary and our own Dr. Vivian Walker. Dr. Walker serves as a SHA Palliative Care physician, a St. Paul’s and Hospice MD leader, and sits on the SPH Foundation Board of Directors.

The Hospice at Glengarda

The Hospice at Glengarda provides patient-centred and responsive end-of-life care and support, offering each patient and their family the opportunity to live life fully throughout the time that they are with us. We are immensely proud to be the first free-standing hospice in the province and to serve as an example for future iterations of hospice care.

This year, we received Leading Practice designation from Accreditation Canada for our Holistic Care Team. Our Spiritual Care Practitioner, Music Therapist, Creative Arts Coordinator and Life Enhancement Guide work alongside our Social Worker, Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Physicians, Care Partners and many behind-the-scenes staff to holistically care for our patients and their families.

On January 28, 2023, we commemorated our second anniversary of Hospice operations. We are excited to be expanding volunteer programming, enhancing building access, participating in events such as the Saskatchewan Hospice Palliative Care Association conference and Hike for Hospice, developing additional culturally inclusive spaces, and initiating the process of increasing the length of stay for patients. We hosted healthcare professional education on optimal approaches to palliative care (LEAP training), and are preparing to welcome many students into our facility this year including community paramedics, registered nurses, psychiatric nurses and social work students.

Donor Contributions Change the Landscape of End-of-Life Care

The Hospice at Glengarda was built through the generosity of donors who supported the Close to Home Campaign. Through this campaign, we developed a Palliative Care Education Fund and created the Leslie and Irene Dubé Holistic Care Endowment, which supports holistic end-of-life care staffing and programming both now and into the future. We are also thankful for the Hospice at Glengarda Orano Canada Endowment for its support of staff and volunteer culturally responsive training as it relates to end-of-life care, and for the Mike and Jennie Riehl Memorial Endowment Fund to advance professional development scholarships for staff and/or volunteers at the Hospice.

Throughout the past year, our donor-supported Comfort Care Fund was utilized for many meaningful projects and items including creative materials used for legacy projects such as memory boxes, hand-casting supplies and time capsules. Through this fund, we also were able to meet patients’ requests such as purchasing special food items, facilitating milestone events and family dinners and creating themed carts for holidays such as our “Doughnuts for Dads” cart on Father’s Day. This fund further continues to provide program supplies for our Holistic Care Team, enabling the purchase of items that include gardening supplies, décor, and provisions for our Hospitality Cart, which is available to all patients and families. We also were able to create a library space within the living room, an herb garden, and a baking cabinet filled with supplies. Each of these pieces is important to creating a comforting, home-like environment for those who enter our doors. We truly are grateful to all those donors who support our Comfort Care Fund.


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