A Moment with Maria

Maria Licoudis, R.N. & Care Manager at Home Care Assistance Montreal

Palliative Care and the End Of Life "It is not that we die but HOW we die" - May 2015

Human beings have a unique asset and that is the ability to rationalize and have free choice. We have the gift of choice, to choose our individual quality of life, including in certain cases how we are going to die. Palliative care represents the enhancement of quality of life, retainment of dignity, and the management of distressing symptoms related to the disease process. Palliative care works to provide two major reassurances to the patient and the family; the patient does not have to die alone, and they do not need to suffer in pain. These are usually the two greatest fears people face. Palliative care stresses flexibility in care with a focus on empathy, individualized attention, 24-hour care, and comfort measures in an atmosphere, of love and security.

We, at Home Care Assistance, acknowledge the need for humanistic caregiving, and support a compassionate and caring approach to patients and their families and friends. The emphasis is on total care. Patients are seen as persons rather than disease processes. We believe that each person has psychological, economic, spiritual and physical needs which comprise the total person. We understand that the patient is the nucleus of it all, therefore our care always revolves around coordination and continuity of their wants and needs. Given our support, the patient and family can face the termination of life with dignity and self respect. We must all live and we must all die. What makes it meaningful is when it is done in an atmosphere of caring, with freedom from pain, and rich in feelings of love and caring.

THE DYING PERSONS BILL OF RIGHTS: Created by the South Western Michigan Institute

  • I have the right to be treated as a living human until I die.
  • I have the right to maintain a sense of hopefulness, however changing its focus may be.
  • I have the right to be cared for by those who can maintain a sense of hopefulness, however changing this may be.
  • I have the right to express my feelings and emotions about my approaching death in my own way.
  • I have the right to participate in decisions concerning my care.
  • I have the right to expect continuing medical and nursing attention even though “cure” goals must be changed to “comfort” goals.
  • I have the right to not die alone.
  • I have the right to be free of pain.
  • I have the right to have my questions answered honestly.
  • I have the right to retain my individuality and not be judged for my decisions, which may be contrary to the belief of others.
  • I have the right to expect that the sanctity of the human body will be respected after death.
  • I have the right to be cared for by caring, sensitive, knowledgeable people who will attempt to understand my needs and will be able to gain some satisfaction in helping me face my death.

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