Statement made on 08 October 2009 by Senator Sharon Carstairs (retired)
Hon. Sharon Carstairs:
Honourable senators, Saturday, October 10 is World Hospice Palliative Care Day, a day to hear the voices of people around the world who are living with life-limiting illnesses — voices often silent because their entire focus is on remaining alive.
Palliative and end-of-life care strives to provide comfort and dignity for anyone who is in the latter stages of terminal illness. This care implies that we attend not only to their medical needs but also to their spiritual and emotional needs. The focus of palliative and end-of-life care is on preserving the quality of the recipient's life so that their suffering is minimized but their experience with life is not. Palliative and end-of-life care is not about dying, it is about living well until the very end.
Too often we think that hospice palliative care is for those who have a cancer diagnosis or for those who are older. Hospice palliative care is not only for cancer patients or for the old. Children and young people with life-limiting chronic conditions have special palliative care needs that are different from those of adults and these needs, too, must be addressed.
Honourable senators, as we mark World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, let us listen to the voices of young and old around the world as they demand their fundamental human right to live well until the end with quality hospice palliative care.