Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 24, 2002
Rural palliative care targeted
International experts praise city's treatment of dying patients
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
Palliative care allows for the convergence of science and humanism, a Calgary-based national leader in palliative medicine told delegates attending the second annual general meeting of Caritas Health Group.
To illustrate his point, Dr. Jose Pereira said, "Holding hands of the patients and simple touch can do a lot to help in the care of palliative patients."
So it is crucial for the caring community to have a healthy self-awareness. "What do we bring to our world of caring from our personal lives and how do they affect in caring for the patients are important questions to ask ourselves," said the medical director for tertiary palliative care at Calgary's Foothills Medical Centre.
He also stressed spirituality is important in palliative care because it can improve the quality of life.
Because of the involvement of different departments in caring for the patients, palliative care is a model of interdisciplinary care. Nurses, physicians, volunteers, spiritual caregivers all contribute to "a very rich caring community coming together."
Pereira lauded the palliative care program offered in Edmonton.
"Palliative care in Edmonton is comprehensive, integrated seamless service."
From the conferences he attended internationally, the physician said Edmonton is mentioned as a model of palliative care because 88 per cent of palliative care patients in the area have access to this type of care, which is the highest figure in the world.
However, palliative care in the rural areas of Alberta needs serious attention, said Pereira.
He said palliative rooms are often available in the rural areas, but this "does not translate to a good palliative care."
Pereira is leading the government funded Pallium Project targeted to handing this problem. This project is aimed at helping rural and remote primary-level health care professionals throughout the Canadian prairies and the NWT effectively care for the terminally ill in their communities.
Caritas Health Group, Alberta's largest faith-based provider of health care, is composed of Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre, Grey Nuns Community Hospital and Misericordia Community Hospital. Together, these facilities have served Edmonton and area for more than 100 years.