Palliative Care

What is palliative care?

Hospice palliative care is a type of care for people and families who are dealing with a life-threatening illness, at any age. The focus is on achieving comfort, reducing suffering, and improving quality of life.

Quality palliative care:

  • focuses on the concerns of patients and their families;
  • provides relief to pain and other physical symptoms such as loss of appetite, shortness of breath and fatigue;
  • examines the whole person - considering the emotional and spiritual concerns of patients and families while respecting their social and cultural needs;
  • ensures that care is respectful and supportive of patient dignity;
  • is provided by an interprofessional team including different people such as social workers and spiritual leaders in addition to medical and nursing professionals.

Receiving care in your home or community

Palliative care can be delivered in a number of different locations or settings including the hospital, home, long-term care facilities or hospices. The best place to receive care is usually the place that best matches your needs.

Some of the healthcare professional and individuals who may be a part of the palliative care team are:

Nurses who provide at-home care. During a visit to your home, a nurse will assist with pain and symptom management. This may include monitoring pain and comfort, giving medications, linking back with other members of your health care team, and sharing information about managing pain. Your nurse will also provide psychological social support, such as talking about end-of-life planning, listening to concerns, answering questions or referring you to additional support services. Many of our nurses have additional knowledge and skill in palliative care.

Occupational therapists who can help with safety and equipment needs.

Personal support workers (or community health workers) who can provide personal care, such as bathing or dressing.

Physiotherapists who can assist with mobility, and in some cases, pain management.

Social workers who support families in working through their emotions by providing coping and stress management strategies and linking them to additional services (e.g. financial supports, compassionate care benefits.)

Spiritual care providers, such as a chaplain, spiritual leader or elder.

How we can help

Sometimes family and friends provide palliative care, with no outside help. However, it is wise to seek help as this type of care is very difficult to do alone. Our services address the multiple issues that individuals and families face during illness, including:

  • managing pain and other symptoms such as loss of appetite, shortness of breath and fatigue
  • nutritional support
  • personal care (e.g., bathing)
  • advance care planning support
  • functional and safety support (e.g., equipment to assist with walking or bathing)
  • spiritual care
  • bereavement support

Am I covered?

We understand that every client and family has unique care needs. Individual services are available or multiple services can be combined depending on needs. We provide service through private insurance plans; on a fee-for-service basis; and, you can speak to your doctor about how to arrange care through your provincial health plan or local health authority. We are also a recognized provider through Veterans Affairs Canada.

When are services available?

Our services are flexible, convenient and customized to meet your needs and schedule. Nursing, personal support, rehabilitation services and companionship can be arranged 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Contact us for care

To learn more about Saint Elizabeth's cancer care services, or how we can help to meet your needs, please call 1-855-275-3549 or contact us.

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