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

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 impacting the quality of living and dying.

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 hobbies with your favourite people. Hospice palliative care means living to the fullest.

Hospice Palliative Care is for all individuals referred to the Palliative Care Service by a family physician or medical specialist. 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.

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

Although there are treatments for many life-limiting illnesses, a cure is not 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 at home, in long-term care, in hospital, in the An Cala Palliative Care Unit or in Hospice Cape Breton. 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.

Hospice palliative care supports caregivers and families as they navigate the difficulties that can arise when a palliative care patient is struggling with a life-limiting illness. Through hospice palliative care, caregivers and families can gain a better understanding of a palliative care patient’s wishes, which can ease the way when there are difficult decisions to 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 caregivers and families understand their goals, and have a better quality of life.

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

If you would like more information about hospice palliative care services and programs in our community or help in starting a conversation about hospice palliative care, please visit https://www.nshealth.ca/content/palliative-care.

Palliative care programs and services are offered in the place of your choosing, whether it be a hospital, long-term care facility, the An Cala Palliative Care Unit, in Hospice Cape Breton or in your own home.

A gentle passage is wished upon all people. Palliative care allows for such a wish to come true. The patient, their caregiver, and family are surrounded by supportive staff and volunteers 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 the caregiver, family and friends after the patient has passed.