Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

These frequently asked questions about Hospice Palliative Care provide a quick glimpse into what it means, who receives it and why it’s essential.


What is hospice palliative care?

Palliative care is a holistic approach for the time when a cure is no longer possible. Every life journey is unique and palliative care’s goal is to maintain a high quality of life for both the patient and their family. It includes pain and symptom management, caregiver support, spiritual care and much more. Hospice palliative care aims to relieve suffering, while including the quality of living and dying.


Does receiving hospice palliative care mean you’re going to die soon?

No. Hospice palliative care is not just for the final days or weeks of a life. It focuses on living well until the end, laughing, enjoying favourite hobbies with your favourite people. Hospice palliative care means living to the fullest.


Who is palliative care for?

Hospice palliative care is for all people. People of all ages are faced with life-threatening illnesses, and palliative care exists to properly support each of them in their own unique needs.


How is hospice palliative care different from the health care I am receiving now?

Hospice palliative care professionals work with the health team you already have, and together they focus on lessening the burdens of suffering, loneliness, and grief for those living with chronic and life-limiting illnesses.


What does integrated hospice palliative care mean?

Although there are treatments for many life-limiting illnesses, a cure isn’t always possible. As an illness progresses, what people need and want changes. An integrated palliative approach to care is one that focuses on an individual’s need at any given point in time. It can be provided in a hospital, hospice, at home, in long-term care homes or in another community setting. Personal values, wishes and desires can be considered. Advance Care Planning, a discussion about individual plans at the end of life, is an important part of an integrated approach to care.


Does hospice palliative care also apply to families?

Hospice palliative care supports families as they navigate the difficulties that can arise when a loved one is struggling with a life-limiting illness. Through hospice palliative care, families can gain a better understanding of a loved one’s wishes, which can ease the way when there are difficult decisions to make.


What difference will hospice palliative care make?

Hospice palliative care manages pain and symptoms, and thanks to the important conversations and planning that hospice palliative care encourages, patients can make informed decisions about their own care, ensure that their families understand their goals, and have a better quality of life.


How do I talk to people about death?

Although it is an inescapable aspect of life, death often lurks like an elephant in the room. It’s there, but not acknowledged; there, but not understood. Hospice palliative care workers provide the space to talk about death with patients and with their families. It is a reality, and one which when discussed, often makes the remainder of life’s journey more fulfilling and joyful.


Whats next?

If you would like more information about hospice palliative care services in your area, or help in starting a conversation about hospice palliative care with a loved one, please visit Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association.


Where can I receive palliative care?

Palliative care services are offered in the place of your choosing, whether it be a hospital, long-term care facility, or your own home.


Why is hospice palliative care important?

A gentle passage is wished upon all people. Palliative care allows for such a wish to come true. The patient and family are surrounded by supportive caregivers who accompany the patient along that final journey, alleviating pain and facilitating healing at all levels, physical, emotional and spiritual. This also includes bereavement for family after their loved one has died. As one family member says, hospice palliative care means you don’t have to experience the ultimate misery of dying alone and not being looked after.