Newfoundland Health Care
For more information on the Regional Palliative and End of Life Care services offered in Central Health contact one of the following:
Regional Palliative Care Consultants
c/o James Paton Memorial Regional Health Centre
End of Life Home Care Coordinator
Regional Grief and Bereavement Consultant
Regional Palliative Care Physician
What is palliative care?
Palliative care is a special kind of health care for individuals and families who are living with a life-threatening illness that is usually at an advanced stage. The goal of palliative care is to assist in providing comfort and dignity for the person living with the illness as well as the best quality of life for both the person and his or her family.
A family is whoever the person says his or her family is. It may include relatives, partners and friends.
An important objective of palliative care is relief of pain and other symptoms. Palliative care is planned to meet not only physical needs but also the psychological, social, cultural, emotional and spiritual needs of each person and their family.
Palliative care may be the main focus of care when a cure for the illness is no longer possible. Palliative care services are helpful not only when a person is approaching death but also at earlier stages in the illness. Palliative care may be combined with treatments aimed at reducing or curing the illness, such as chemotherapy.
Families also benefit from support when their loved one is dying and after his or her death.
Who benefits from palliative care?
Individuals and families living with life-threatening illnesses benefit from palliative care. Many people who receive palliative care are living with a life threatening illness. Palliative care helps those living with diseases such as cancer, advanced heart, respiratory and kidney disease, Alzheimer Disease, AIDS, ALS and multiple sclerosis (MS).
What is involved with palliative care?
Palliative care involves:
Who provides palliative care?
Most people are cared for by their family and friends. At certain times, they may need some additional help. In these situations, palliative care is usually provided by members of a palliative care team. When a team is involved, the person and his or her family are encouraged to make choices about the kind of care they want and to take an active part in planning care.
Members of the team are determined by the needs of the person and his or her family. The team often includes a nurse with specialized palliative care skills, the person's family physician, a physician specialized in palliative care and a social worker.
Where do people receive palliative care?
Palliative care is offered in a variety of places;
Who pays for palliative care?
Palliative care at home may be paid for by the provincial health plan as part of a home care program. Services provided in the last month of life include the cost of drugs and equipment used at home and 219 paid hours of home support services. After these hours are used up, people need to look for other ways to pay such as Community Supports Home Program.
People may use private insurance or their own money to pay for palliative care services at home. Some may receive assistance from social agencies, service clubs, local cancer societies and other similar organizations. Palliative care provided in a hospital is usually paid for by provincial health plans. These plans usually cover most care including drugs, medical supplies and equipment while the person is in the hospital. There is no charge for bereavement support.
How can I make my wishes known about the care I would like to receive when I am facing a life-threatening illness?
You should talk over your wishes with your family and let them know what you want. You can also put your wishes in writing so that, in the event that you are unable to say what you want, your family and health care providers will know. Such documents are called advance health care directives. You can seek advice about advance health care directives from your local health care provider which includes your family doctor, community nurse and social worker.
How can I find out about palliative care services available in my community?
The following resources may be helpful:
How can I find out more general information about palliative care?
There are several resources available to you:
A Caregiver's guide: A Handbook about end of life care (2014 caregiver's guide)
Speak Up Canada
Advance Health Care Directives and Substitute Decision Makers (Coalition of Persons with Disabilities)
Advance Health Care Planning Booklet for Newfoundland and Labrador