Families to benefit from expanded end-of-life services

The hours of operation are from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. Pacific time, seven days a week

British Columbians with terminal illnesses, their loved ones and caregivers now have access to after-hours support in their homes with the expansion of the After- Hours Palliative Nursing Service (AHPNS).

This after-hours nursing telephone service will complement the existing supports available during the day for those nearing the end of their life, and their families.

The hours of operation are from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. Pacific time, seven days a week. This service is available to those eligible to receive palliative care nursing services through the provincial home and community care program.

This service has been connecting patients with nurses in Fraser Health since 2005 and now palliative patients in every health authority will be able to pick up the phone anytime during the overnight hours and receive confidential information and support from specially trained registered nurses.

‘Improving the Care of B.C. Seniors: An Action Plan’ contains concrete actions to improve the lives of seniors, their families and caregivers, such as providing after-hours phone support to patients with terminal illnesses. This service helps seniors and their families access support for their care needs within their own community.

“Understandably, most of us want to spend our final days in our own home surrounded by family and friends, whenever possible,” said Ron Cantelon, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors to the Minister of Health, “Making this easier is what the expanded After- Hours Palliative Nursing Service is all about; enabling people to receive the comfort, love and support from those dearest to them in the familiar and reassuring setting of their own home.”

Callers will be able to speak with a specially trained Registered  Nurse from HealthLinkBC, and those with more complex care needs may be transferred to speak with a specialist Palliative Response Nurse from Fraser Health

While AHPNS is confidential, the after-hours nurse will inform the community nurse in the patient’s local health authority about the call and specify any follow-up care that may be required.

Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria area patients will not have access to this expanded service. Services that are currently in place for patients in these areas will continue to be provided.

The ministry developed the Provincial Framework for End-of-Life Care  in 2006, which is used as a guide by health authorities, service providers, communities and individuals in developing and delivering end-of-life care services for patients and their families.

For more information about end-of-life care, visit: www.health.gov.bc.ca/hcc/endoflife.html