As close neighbours sharing a 5,525-mile (8891-kilometre) land border, Canada and the US are frequently compared to one another. Perhaps the most popular debate pits Canada’s public health care system against America’s largely private, multi-payer system.
According to one study, Canadians can expect more health care services for lower costs and, as such, enjoy higher life expectancies and lower infant mortality rates. However, another international study shows Canada may be trailing behind the US in one key metric: palliative care.
Have you ever wondered how palliative care in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada differs from Hempstead, New York, USA? As roughly equivalent suburbs on the outskirts of major urban areas, they’re close comparisons. Yet people in Mississauga may be less likely to age in place.
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More Than Half of Canadians with Cancer Die in Hospital
The Commonwealth Fund and the National Institute on Aging conducted this study in 2016, comparing seven developed countries and their approach to palliative care. Researchers used administrative records of people 65 and over who died from cancer in the following countries:
- The Netherlands
- United States of America
The study found roughly half of Canadians with cancer die in hospital, at 52.1%. That’s more than any other country included in the study. The US, meanwhile, has a significantly lower number, with just 22.1% of Americans with cancer dying in hospital.
Most People Want to Age in Place
Ask most people—Canadian or American—and they’ll say they want to age in place.
By the numbers, Americans are more successful at achieving these goals. However, it’s important to note the difference in health care systems and the cost of hospital-based care.
The study’s researchers underscore the economic cost of hospital-based care as the possible reason for this discrepancy. For Americans, it’s simply too cost-prohibitive to stay in hospital for end-of-life care.
Meanwhile, Canadians aren’t without aging-in-place options for at-home palliative care. Private home health care services supplement end-of-life care funded by the government.
The greatest indicator of whether they’ll use these services is if they talk with their families about aging in place.
Involving health care professionals in these intimate conversations can help patients and their families through these difficult decisions—whether they live in Mississauga or Hempstead.
Having your values and preferences known can increase your chances of dying where and how you want. You’re also more likely to find the best palliative care Mississauga offers when you involve everyone in the conversation.
What is At-Home Palliative Care?
Palliative care is for people with life-threatening conditions or terminal illnesses, including those with Dementia, cancer, and other serious illnesses. At-home care ensures you receive all the medical attention you need while enjoying the comforts and dignity of living in your home.
With terminal illnesses, there’s no cure. Palliative care’s focus is to improve a person’s quality of life by relieving anxiety and reducing pain and other symptoms of illnesses. This requires a holistic approach to health care involving Registered Nurses (RNs), Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs), Personal Support Workers (PSWs), Physiotherapists, and Registered Message Therapists.
Worldwide, roughly 40 million people need palliative care. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, make your wishes known. Having these tough discussions can help you and your loved ones receive the best care in a familiar setting.