Hospice Palliative Care Society

To support and promote compassionate care for individuals and their loved ones who are living with a life-threatening illness.

In 1986 folks in our community decided a more formal approach was needed to assist those living with a life-limiting illness. Dedicated, determined and caring citizens formed the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton County. The community rallied to make what now exists a reality. The fundraising and education began, with the recognition and motivation that it is possible to have a good death.

The sixteen member non-profit charitable Society board works in partnership with the Nova Scotia Health Authority Palliative Care Services and other community programs to meet the many needs of palliative care patients and their families. The Society acknowledges it’s just not possible for the health-care system to provide all the necessary extras for patients, so that’s where it steps in.


“You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.”
~ Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of modern Hospice movement, England, 1967

Palliative Care staff say it’s the little things that matter most during that time of a patient’s life — and the Society’s support allows them to provide those items that are comforting and meaningful. These include items that bolster the spirit or soothe in the moment – items as varied as quilts to a parking pass or a movie night for a family. It can be family respite for a day or a household item that makes life just a bit easier. The support provided is as unique as the individual and his or her family and is made available both in-patient in the An Cala Palliative Care Unit or fulfilling a need at home in the community. See Our Services for a complete list of the types of services and supports provided by the Society made possible by the diligent fundraising from the community.

Other hospice palliative care societies on Cape Breton Island are located in Baddeck, Cheticamp, Inverness and Neil’s Harbour — supporting patients in those particular areas.

Understanding Hospice

Hospice palliative care affirms life. The dying are still living and deserve a comfortable, meaningful life, and that is exactly what this care provides.

Palliative comes from the Latin palliare “To cloak or cover”

Hospice comes from the Latin hospes “To host or guest a stranger”

Hospice palliative care medical services alleviate pain, with an emphasis on comfort and improving life, not curing the disease. Hospice palliative care is an holistic approach. The physical, social, psychological, emotional and spiritual are treated as needed or desired by the patient.

Living and dying are inseparable. Some would say death should be celebrated as much as the event of a birth. The Society’s services offered under the care and guidance of the palliative care staff uphold the values and philosophy of hospice palliative care – as first aspired to by caregivers decades ago.