What is Hospice Palliative Care?  

A specialized form of healthcare, hospice palliative care aims to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for those living with a life limiting illness, and their families. It addresses the specific physical, psychological, social, spiritual, and practical issues associated with life-limiting illnesses, and related expectations, needs, hopes, and fears. 

Benefits of a Palliative Approach 

Pain & Symptom management 

People living with a life-limit illness may experience pain as well as a variety of symptoms depending on their illness. This may cause concern among families who seek to relieve pain and symptoms. A palliative care approach is able to help relieve pain as well as illness accompanying symptoms through knowledge and an understanding of the causes, treatments, and relief.

Social, psychological, emotional, and spiritual support 

Palliative care recognizes the importance of a person’s physical and mental health and provides various supports to both the individual and their family. 

Caregiver Support 

A common concern for caregivers and family members is whether they will be able to look after their loved one in the best way possible. A palliative approach to care sees the importance of supporting the caregivers and family members and does this with: 

Advice and assistance from health care providers, and medical professionals skilled in palliative care. 

Instruction on treating and caring for the person.  

Support services that aid with household tasks and provide relief such as day programs and temporary or permanent stays at long term care facilities. 

Provincial Associations  

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Provincial hospice palliative care associations provide leadership for quality hospice palliative care in their province and work with partners in the health system and community. They can also help you find resources in your region. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is CHPCA? 

The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) is a national nonprofit association that provides leadership in hospice palliative care throughout Canada.  

What is the difference between palliative care and hospice care?  

In Canada, both terms refer to the same thing. However, people often use the term hospice care to describe care offered in the community rather than in hospitals. 

Who benefits from hospice palliative care?  

Individuals and families living with life-limiting illnesses benefit from palliative care.  

Who provides it? 

Most people approaching end-of-life are cared for by family and friends. When they need help, care is provided by a palliative care team. This can include nurses with specialized palliative care skills, physicians, social workers, spiritual counselors, etc. Volunteers providing support services also play an important role in palliative care. 

Where do I receive it?  

Hospice palliative care is offered in a variety of places, at home, in hospitals, in long-term care facilities, and in hospices.  

How is it paid for? 

Hospice palliative care is paid for in different ways across the country. Including provincial health plans, private insurance and out of pocket. Who pays often depends on whether care is being provided at home, in the hospital, in a hospice residence or other situation. 

How can I ensure my palliative care needs and wishes are met? 

Talk about your wishes with your family. You can also put your wishes in writing so if you can’t say what you want, your family and health care providers will know.  

For more information please visit Advance Care Planning. 

What is bereavement support? 

Palliative care services provide support for family members to work through their emotions and grief regarding the death of a loved one. Bereavement support may begin before the death occurs and is an important part of palliative care for people who may have faced many losses over a short period of time. 

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Milestones in Hospice Palliative Care 

Learn about the history of Hospice Palliative Care in Canada. 

Canadian Directory of Hospice Palliative Care Services

Looking for information on the availability of hospice palliative care services across Canada?

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