I am so very sorry that you find yourself in this awful situation. As you say, there is not really a hospice culture in France but (thank heaven) there has been a lot of recent development through "hospitalisation à domicile" and the "reseaux soins pailiatifs" to enable people to be cared for at home. The only possible problem which may relate to you is if you live alone - HAD usually needs family or friends to be available when the team cannot be there and the patient cannot be left alone. Your médecin traitant also has to agree that treatment at home is feasible. Having said that, our experience with HAD in the Pyrenees end of the mediterranean has been very good with the médecin traitant taking a caring and supportive view.
I assume you live in Alpes Maritimes. There is a CSF newly affiliated group in that area which covers departments 06 and 83. It is called Cancer Support 06 and the e-mail helpline is at:
Also, there is soins palliatif available through the following reseau (I have copied all their info below):
Plateforme Territoriale Réseau Douleur Accompagnement Soins Palliatifs des Alpes Maritimes Ouest
Centre Hospitalier Antibes-Juan Les Pins
107, route de Nice
06606 ANTIBES Cedex
Teléphone : 04 97 24 82 98
Télécopie : 04 97 24 82 66
Email : Terdasp06@ch-antibes.fr
Médecin Responsable : Dr Isabelle CASINI
Secrétariat : Hélène AMPURIAS
Territoire couvert :
Alpes Maritimes Ouest, du fleuve Var au département du Var.
Le signalement peut être effectué par les professionnels de santé, libéraux ou hospitaliers (secteur médico-social), les patients, les familles.
Critères d'inclusion :
Patient relevant de soins palliatifs domicilié sur le territoire , quelque soit le lieu de vie, accord indispensable du médecin traitant et du patient.
Objectifs : Faciliter la prise en charge du patient de l'hôpital au domicile, Faciliter l'accès aux soins d'accompagnement et de soutien, Accompagner les professionnels libéraux et institutionnels.
I do hope this is helpful. If we can seek any further information for you PLEASE get in touch.
Thank you for the information which will prove useful.
As I live near Fayence in theVar am I correct in thinking that it is the Antibes team I should make contact with.Fortunately I have a very supportive family but my husband is 80 so if I was having palliative care in a hospital it would mean a lot of driving for an elderly and already distressed man.
Plus I was a district nurse for many years and I know that ,if dying at home is managed correctly, it can allow the patient a dignified end surrounded by family and friends and a much more positive experience than being in hospital.
Part of the problem for me will be the correct management of pain.I already had friend here die at home in great pain because the local nurses,although very kind,had no idea of pain management for different cancers
I will make contact with Dr Casino and appreciate any information you can give me .
I have time yet,maybe a few months, to organise this for myself.
What a difficult time for you both. I can assure you that in my case of "hospitalisation à domicile" the team were so professional, kind and nothing seemed to be too much trouble. Regarding managing the pain again if anything changed the Doctor was called and came very quickly. If I can of any further help please please pm me.
You are a very courageous lady, your strength at this awful time must be a huge comfort to your family.
Yes, it seems that the Antibes team cover the Var generally. I suggest you contact them if you can.
We can only speak as we find and I am aware that the situation will be different in the different parts of France, however, the experience in our area - that is four departments from the Tarn through to the Pyrénées-Orientales - has been that the care has been very good and it has allowed a dignified and pain free death. This has particularly been true when the médecin traitant has been involved and is sympathetic and "in tune" to the needs of the patient.
I would suggest that you speak to your médecin traitant as he will nominally be in charge of the Hospitalisaton à domicile team who are then supported by the soins palliatifs nurses.
In addition, I wonder whether you have made a "living will" or Directive anticipée expressing your views on pain control? This has the benefit of exonerating the medical team if the pain relief needed substantially shortens life. They usually have the appropriate forms for this in hospitals, failing which I can point you in the direction of a standard form which can be copied.
Penny with a hug