Blog - Donor-funded Equipment Providing More Immediate Care

Receiving palliative care can be scary and emotional for patients and their loved ones. Finding options for pain and symptom management during this difficult time is important because it offers a better quality of life for patients. This is why palliative care staff must have the best tools available to ensure the comfort of patients and their families.

Thanks to the help from donors, Providence Care’s palliative care program, located at Providence Care Hospital, recently acquired a Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS). The POCUS is a portable, handheld device that provides staff with ultrasound imaging in real time.

“We have lots of clinical scenarios where our patients would benefit from ultrasound,” says Dr. Leonie Herx, Clinical Director for Palliative Care at Providence Care. “They might get fluid on their lungs or around their heart, or they may get clots in their legs. And POCUS allows us to bring care to the patient’s bedside to swiftly diagnose and determine what clinical action needs to be taken.”

The equipment projects the ultrasound images onto an iPad. The clear visualization of the images helps not only with diagnoses but also with procedures, preventing avoidable patient transfers to Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC). This can save valuable time and relieve stress for the patient.

“If we can diagnose a patient without having to transport them off-site, we can often provide them with appropriate treatment here,” says Dr. Herx. “We can also have informed conversations with family members to help them make the best decisions for their loved one at the very end of life. There’s just so much we can do to provide comfort that requires the benefit of this type of intervention. So it’s amazing to have a tool that improves the care we provide, especially at this very vulnerable time in a patient’s life.”

When a patient is seriously ill, they understand the value of each day. By helping to purchase this equipment, donors are making each day less disruptive for patients and families so they can make the most of the time they have left together.

“Ultrasound has now been advanced as a core competency for palliative medicine specialists,” says Dr. Herx. “So with staff in the palliative care unit having training in POCUS, and donors helping to provide the relevant equipment, this is a great example of Providence Care and the community working in partnership. Donors are helping us provide cutting-edge care to patients and ensuring we set the standards for palliative medicine. We are so grateful for that!”