Palliative Care Services Information Guide
Living with a life threatening illness is difficult. There may be many emotions to deal with and many questions needing answers.
We're here to help ... by providing the best possible care and support.
We are also here for your family and friends, to help them during this time. A "family" is whoever the person says his or her family is. It may include relatives, partners and friends.
The care to you and your family focuses on:
- easing pain and other symptoms
- striving for the best quality of life for each person
- providing information and support to your and your family and friends
- assisting with plans for future care and needs
- providing support during grief and bereavement
What is Palliative Care?
Palliative Care is a special kind of health care for individuals and families who are living with a progressive life threatening illness.
The goal of palliative care is comfort and dignity for the person living with the illness as well as the best quality of life for both this person and his or her family.
An important objective of palliative care is relief of pain and other symptoms. Palliative Care plans to meet not only physical needs but also the psychological, social, cultural, emotional and spiritual needs of each person and family.
The focus of care is on comfort and improving quality of life. Curing the illness is not the primary focus of Palliative Care.
Palliative Care services are helpful at early stages of life-threatening illness as well as when approaching death. Palliative care may be accessed even when a person is receiving treatments like chemotherapy or radiation for comfort and control.
Palliative Care Services that can be offered, based on assessed need, may include the following:
- consultation with a Palliative Care Coordinator
- nutritional supplements
- dressing supplies
- the Palliative Oxygen Program
- provincial Palliative Drug Plan
- special equipment
- symptom management & ongoing care
- emotional & social support
- spiritual support
- the opportunity to facilitate discussions on health care choices
- opportunity to make advance health care decisions
Who Provides Palliative Care?
You and your family are the centre of the palliative care team. The team may include:
- Family Physician
- Nurse Practitioner
- Palliative Care Coordinator
- Registered Nurses
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- Special Care Aides / Home Health Aides
- Social Workers
- Pastoral Care Workers and Clergy
- Occupational Therapists
- Physical Therapists
- Other health professionals
The Palliative Care team will encourage you and your family to be involved in planning care and treatment. The team will try to ensure that you have knowledge and an understanding of your situation to enable you to make informed choices.
Our Palliative Care Coordinators in Sunrise Health Region have received specialized training in Palliative Care. They are designated Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Nurse Specialists by the Canadian Nurses Association.
Where is Palliative Care provided?
Our goal is to provide Pallilative Care Services in the most comfortable and appropriate place for you, your family and friends. Services may be offered:
in long term care facilities
in personal care homes
in acute care hospitals
Where you receive your care will depend upon what your needs are and where they can be met. Options will be discussed with you, your family and health care providers. The staff of Sunrise Health Region Palliative Care Services work closely together for continuity of care.
Emotional and Social Support
Coping with a life-threatening illness brings about many strong feelings. You may feel you are riding on an emotional roller coaster and at times feel overwhelmed.
When someone is sick or dying, feelings of loss and grief are common. These are painful feelings, but are important in helping you to cope and adapt to any changes you may face. In the Sunrise Health Region, Social Workers may be available in hospitals, nursing homes and in the community. They can listen, assist with financial concerns and other stresses related to the illness.
If you wish to discuss emotional and social concerns speak with your Palliative Care Coordinator. She will direct you to appropriate resources available in your specific community.
Life is a journey from birth to death. The goal of Spiritual Care is to be available in a caring way that shows respect, is confidential and provides a source of support, comfort, reassurance and hope. Spiritual care givers can accompany you and your family as you face the challenges of a life-threatening illness.
If you are connected to a community of faith, you may wish to contact someone from your community who can visit with you at this time. Spiritual care givers are available to visit with you, or to contact a clergy person/member of your own faith community.