*** NEW (August 8, 2023): Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) has recently launched a new Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) and Palliative Care service to support the hospital’s admitted patients in their end of life decision-making. This service is available to any patient at the request of the physician providing their general, primary care while at GBGH.
The MAiD and Palliative Care service is being supported by five physicians with special palliative expertise who are dedicated to ensuring the highest quality of care for patients with serious life-limiting disease. This may include patients in end of life with a focus on providing relief from symptoms and improving their quality of life. To ensure consistent access to MAiD and palliative care guidance and consultations while at GBGH, a weekly on-call schedule has been developed to ensure comprehensive coverage throughout the year.
During a palliative care consultation, plans and other recommendations will be sent by the palliative care physician to the physician providing primary care while in hospital, as well as to community providers to ensure a seamless transition in care. For a MAiD consultation, the on-call palliative physician may complete assessments in determining eligibility for MAiD.
Palliative care is provided to individuals who are living with a life threatening illness when the focus of care has turned from that of cure to comfort. Pain and symptom management become paramount and attention is given to the quality of the life remaining rather than trying to extend the time of living.
Palliative care is multidisciplinary in its approach. The team is led first by the individual and their family, and may include the physician, nurse, personal support worker, hospital chaplain or clergy, social worker, dietitian, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, respiratory therapist, speech and language therapist, recreational therapist and Hospice volunteers.
The team works in partnership with community resources to provide an easy transition to and from home. One of our partners, the North Simcoe Muskoka Hospice Palliative Care Network (NSMHPCN) works across sectors – acute care, community, long term care. The NSMHPCN Palliative Nurse Consultants available for consultation within Georgian Bay General Hospital are specialists with over 10 years of palliative experience between them working in secondary level specialty care, practicing a palliative approach to care while building capacity in the hospital through teaching and mentorship. As leaders in pain and symptom management and compassionate end-of-life care, the NSMHPCN Nurse Consultants have specialty preparation in palliative care through education, clinical practice, and national certification. The presence of the NSMHPCN Nurse Consultants at the GBGH site broadens access to evidenced based palliative care for the community of patients we serve focussing on collaboration and integration with partners across the NSMLHIN. They are available for consultation with patients and their families while visiting Georgian Bay General Hospital, and to follow up once they have transitioned home.