Frequently Asked Questions

Thanks to the Shuswap Hospice Society for the excellent FAQ

Q: What does Hospice mean?
A: Hospice is a patient-centered form of palliative care, focusing on emotional support, which aims to make the last months of life as comfortable and peaceful as possible for patients and their caregivers. Hospice strives to improve quality of life at the end of life, not only for patients, but also for their family and friends. The patient, family and volunteer caregivers are considered an integral unit. Hospice is not a place – it’s a concept. The focus is on caring, not curing; on life, not death. Quality of life, family wellness, community involvement and personal dignity are all part of the compassionate and progressive vision of Hospice

Q: Is Hospice Care the same as Palliative Care?
A: The term “Hospice Palliative Care” can be used interchangeably; however, hospice services can be delivered long before palliative services are ever required. Hospice support is available at the time of a life-limiting diagnosis, often months before palliative care is needed. Palliative care is defined as care when cure is not possible and is directed toward management of symptoms, usually later in the disease process. Hospice care is available during the life-limiting phase and through until the end.

Q: What is the Hospice Society of North Kootenay Lake?
A: The Hospice Society of North Kootenay Lake is a non-profit volunteer organization that supports those who are struggling to cope with death and the associated emotional realities of that process. The Society provides grief and bereavement support to the families and friends of those whose loved ones have died.

Q: Does the HSNKL provide help for the family after a person dies?
A: Yes, both the Society and the volunteer is committed to providing continued contact and support following the death of a loved one. In addition, the Program and Volunteer Coordinator and support groups are available. The Hospice Society of North Kootenay Lake has a wonderful lending library of resource materials, located at the Administration Office.

Q: Who are the volunteers?
A: Our volunteers are men and women of this community who are willing to give a few hours a week to visit clients in homes, hospital, or long term care facilities. They are carefully screened and trained to provide services tailored to individual needs. Volunteers are special people who are able to support others in a knowledgeable, confidential and compassionate manner, thus making a positive difference to the quality of someone else’s life.

Q: How are Volunteers screened and accepted?
A: Volunteers are interviewed, provide personal references, and agree to a criminal record search. They must also successfully complete a 30 hour training course, following the training guidelines of the British Columbia Hospice Palliative Care Association. The Hospice Society of North Kootenay Lake, mentors volunteers and provides regular training and development opportunities to volunteers.

Q: Do Volunteers recommend services?
A: No, we do not recommend services. But, volunteers will support the patient and family in accessing appropriate resources that they have decided upon.

Q: When should a decision about support be made and who should make the decision?
A: At any time during a life-limiting illness, it is appropriate to discuss all of the patient’s care options, including hospice. The decision to accept hospice support belongs to the patient.

Q: Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice support, or should I ask the question first?
A: The patient and family should feel free to discuss hospice care at any time with their family doctor, the home care nurses, friends, clergy, or other health care professionals.

Q: Who can refer to the HSNKL and what does the process involve?
A: The patient or family members, the physicians, home care nurses, chaplains, or social workers, even friends. One call to the Program and Volunteer Coordinator is all that is required to start the support for the patient/family as needed.

Q: What specific assistance does the HSNKL provide to home based patients?
A: Volunteers who have chosen to work one-to-one with patients are matched by the Program and Volunteer Coordinator, to that patient based on preferences of both the patient/family and the volunteer.

Q: Is the HSNKL affiliated with any religious organizations?
A: No. Hospice respects the individual’s personal choices and beliefs.

Q: Where does the HSNKL get it’s support?
A: The Hospice Society of North Kootenay Lake is a non profit, volunteer organization that depends on donations and support from the community. To help supplement partial funding from Interior Health we also obtain support from your Donations, In-Memory Gifts, Bequests, Memberships, Service Organizations, Corporate Donations and Fundraising.

Q: How can I learn more about the HSNKL?
A: Please feel free to look through the various pamphlets and information on this website, or call the Hospice Society of North Kootenay Lake’s Administration Office and we will happily provide you with additional information.

Q: How can I make a donation?
A: A donation may be made at our Administration Office, through the mail, or through the CanadaHelps secure website. See Support Hospice Society of North Kootenay Lake for more information.

Q: How do I become a member and support the work of Hospice?
A: Individual memberships are $10 per year; as a member you will have voting privileges at the Annual General Meeting. See Membership for more information.