Presented by: Barbara Pesut
Hospice volunteers have a long and distinguished tradition of providing care for clients dying in the community. With developments in a public health approach to palliative care, many hospice societies are considering how they can engage their communities more meaningfully with the view to making palliative care more accessible. The purpose of this presentation is to present the findings of an innovative program called NCARE (navigating, connecting, accessing, resourcing, engaging) which was designed to increase hospice engagement toward a compassionate community approach to care. Volunteers who were trained in navigation provided supportive services in the home for clients living with advanced chronic illness. Interventions included assisting clients with making supportive connections, identifying and accessing relevant resources, engaging with meaningful activities, and assisting with decision-making. Volunteers were partnered with a nurse navigator who provided oversight and mentoring. An advisory committee made up of stakeholders from health care, social care, and local government provided direction for the project. NCARE was successfully piloted in 2015/2016 and is now being implemented in communities across Canada. Clients who have taken part in the program indicate that it improves their quality of life; volunteers have described the role as satisfying and meaningful. Overall, the intervention has the potential to contribute to the sense of belonging, safety, and support that characterizes the compassionate community.