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Palliative Care


What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a way of providing care that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Palliative care:

  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
  • affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
  • intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
  • integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
  • offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
  • offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
  • uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counseling, if indicated;
  • will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness;
  • is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.

What is End of Life Care?

End of life care is an important part of palliative care, and usually refers to the care of a person during the last part of their life, from the point at which it has become clear that the person is in a progressive state of decline.

End of life care is usually a longer period than the time during which someone is considered to be “dying”. The time at the end of life is different for each person, and each person has unique needs for information, for support and for care. (Source: World Health Web Page 2010)

Who is the Palliative Care Team?

  • Physicians
  • Certified Palliative Pain and Symptom Management Nurses
  • Registered Nurses and Registered practical Nurses
  • Palliative Educated Nurses
  • Case Manager/Coordinator
  • Regional Palliative Clinical Manager & Director
  • Spiritual and Religious Care
  • Pharmacy
  • Palliative Volunteer Assistant
  • Bereavement Coordinator (GNG and DMH Programs)
  • Dieticians
  • Palliative Volunteers
  • Community Partners: Hospice Niagara; CCAC Palliative Team; Wellspring Niagara and United Way of Niagara Falls and Fort Erie

Mission Statement / Program Mandate for Palliative Care:

The primary aim of the Palliative Care in the Niagara Health System is to provide exemplary care and support to patients and their families with a life limiting illness.

Palliative Care is not a place it is the supportive care that is provided to meet the specific needs of the patient and the family truly ‘Patient Centred Care’ across the continuum of our Hospital sites within the Niagara Health System in collaboration with our community partners.

Program Statement of Purpose and Beliefs

Palliative Care: is specialized supportive care. It is intended to comfort and support individuals and their families who are living with a life-threatening / life limiting illness such as cancer, lung and heart disease or other end-stage diseases which are no longer responsive to a curative approach.

The Palliative Care Service aims to relieve pain and other symptoms to promote the best possible quality of life for all patients. The focus is on the individual and his or her family. The NHS Palliative Care Team encourages involvement in the planning of treatment and care enabling the patient/family to make choices based on knowledge. The Palliative Care Service provides ongoing support to meet the individual’s unique physical, psychological, social, cultural, emotional and spiritual expectations and needs.

Program Philosophy Statement:

"Focusing On Those We Serve: Providing Excellence In Palliative Inter- professional Consultation and Support to patients and families experiencing a life limiting illness".

Program Objectives and Outcomes:

  1. To provide a NHS regional palliative care team delivery model-based on  the NHS’s mission, vision and values and utilizing the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) Model of care document: “National Principles and Norms of Practice” for Palliative Care (2005) to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients and families experiencing a life limiting illness.
  2. To provide palliative care education and assessment utilizing researched based standardized assessment tools, providing consultation and interprofessional support for pain and symptom management for the patients within our system.
  3. Increase the identification of patients who are in the early stages of a progressive, debilitation disease who would benefit from formalized palliative care planning.
  4. Further develop and refine internal and community partnerships ‘enhancing service coordination in Niagara and within our LHIN- i.e NHS Oncology Program, CCAC palliative service teams, Hospice Niagara, Wellspring Niagara, Niagara on the Lake Community Palliative care, Bereavement Resource Council of Niagara, HNHB (Hamilton Niagara Halton Brant) Hospice Palliative Network and Cancer Care Ontario. Continuity of care, resulting in improved patient comfort, is a hallmark of the program.  This is achieved through communication amongst all the professionals in both the hospital and community settings.

Palliative Care Volunteers

There is a dedicated group of Volunteers available by referral to support our in-hospital patients and their families receiving palliative care. They are invaluable in providing relief for a family members, offering refreshment, or just sitting quietly providing comfort. Our Volunteers are also very involved in fund raising events and other program support needs as required. We are very proud to provide a customized Palliative Care training Program for our volunteers. For further information please contact the number listed below.