A Method To Determine Spatial Access To Specialized Palliative Care Services Using GIS
Palliative care is a specialized medical service that aims to improve the quality of life of people diagnosed with severe illness by alleviating their symptoms and dealing with emotional, social, spiritual, and practical difficulties.
Specialized palliative care involves doctors, nurses, psychologists, and other specialists working together as a team to help relieve the stress of an often serious diagnosis.
The team covers pain management, nutrition, hydration, communication with family members and friends, treatment decisions, and emotional support to patients and their families/friends.
For patients who need dementia support BC, specialized palliative care teams provide services like memory screenings, language and communication support, behavior assessments, relief of distress or fears caused by dementia-related behaviors, reducing environmental stressors which cause anxiety/aggression/delusions, and the promotion of positive social interactions.
What are the Benefits of Specialized Palliative Care?
Medical studies show that when there is a coordinated effort across disciplines in caring for patients diagnosed with life-changing illnesses, the patient is more likely to live a higher quality of life in their final stages. This is also true when patients receive good palliative care (including social work and pastoral services) after they are discharged from the hospital.
There are studies that show coordination between disciplines not only improves the quality of life for the patient but also reduces the number of emergency department visits and hospital readmissions. This is especially true in instances of in home care for seniors with dementia.
What are the Challenges of Specialized Palliative Care?
Studies continue to show that as the population grows and ages, specialized palliative care is a growing priority for health service administrators and medical professionals.
However, there are many areas that simply do not have access or knowledge of specialized palliative care services, including dementia & Alzheimer’s care. This poses a challenge for the patients living in those areas, as well as for the medical staff that serves them.
For palliative care in British Columbia and beyond, the following challenges are clear:
- Accessibility due to geographical landscape (rural or remote communities, etc.)
- Lack of resources in general (human resources, specialized equipment, pharmaceuticals, etc.)
- Cultural aspects (language barriers, beliefs/values about death and dying)
- Financial constraints (funding for research, resources, equipment)
- Service gaps (lack of knowledge about specialized palliative care; lack of specialized professionals; issues with coordination between disciplines, etc.)
How to Increase Specialized Palliative Care BC
GIS (Geographic Information System) is one helpful solution that can be applied to solve this problem by providing special insight into where specialized palliative care services might be needed.
GIS is a science that uses computer software to represent data as maps or visual plots on a digital platform. The maps are used for mapping, measuring, analyzing, and processing geographical locations, updating them in real-time with relevant information. The term GIS can be applied to any form of data that has an associated location (including time).
In this case, GIS can be used to map out Canada and pinpoint areas that do not have a palliative care unit or where there may be a lack of knowledge about the specialized services available.
This information can then be passed along to medical professionals in different fields, letting them know where they might need to focus their efforts to ensure patients living in those areas have access to high-quality palliative care.
GIS can also be used as a research tool, as the data collected from the maps can be analyzed and processed further to give a more detailed picture of which sectors are being underserved. This information will help health managers better understand where they should be focusing their efforts to ensure patients in the right locations receive proper palliative care
How Big Hearts Home Care is Helping Bring Palliative In-Home Care to BC
Big Hearts Home Care is keen to use GIS as a tool to help patients receive the specialized palliative care services they need.
In fact, Big Hearts has been actively working to cover specialized palliative home care needs for all residents throughout British Columbia. With specialized palliative care the includes dementia & Alzheimer’s care, Wound Care, and more, Big Hearts Home Care is strengthening its focus on specialized palliative care.
Big Hearts Home Care has been providing its clients with high-quality care for almost twenty years now. They have a team of professionals who understand the unique needs of each client and know how to provide them with specialized services based on those needs. Big Hearts Home Care continues to find new ways to help with home care services for elderly across the region.
Learn more about Big Hearts Home Care and how they help people across the province by visiting them online today.