These frequently asked questions about Palliative Care explain what it is, who receives it and why it’s essential.
What is hospice palliative care?
Hospice palliative care is an interdisciplinary approach to care for people with life limiting illness. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, pain, physical, emotional and spiritual stress, at any stage of illness. The goal is to improve the quality of life, through the end of life, for both the person and their family.
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.
Hospice palliative care focuses on a patient’s needs at any given point in time. 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. It can be provided in a hospital, hospice residence, at home, in long-term care homes or in another community setting. Advance Care Planning, a discussion about individual plans at the end of life, is an important part of hospice palliative care.
Why is it needed here?
Lunenburg and Queens counties have one of the oldest populations in North America, with more than 25% of the population over the age of 65. Referrals for palliative care in Lunenburg and Queens are growing.
Does receiving palliative care mean you’re going to die soon?
No. Palliative care is not just for the final days or weeks of a life. It focuses on improving quality of life from diagnosis until the end.
Who is palliative care for?
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 palliative care different from the health care I am receiving now?
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.
Does palliative care also apply to families?
Palliative care supports families as they navigate the difficulties that can arise when a loved one is struggling with a life-limiting illness. Through 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 palliative care make?
Palliative care manages pain and symptoms, and helps patients make informed decisions about their own care, ensure that their families understand their goals, and have a better quality of life.
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. Talk to your family health care provider.
Why is palliative care important?
Facing a life-limiting illness and end of life can be overwhelming. Palliative care surrounds the patient and family with 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.