What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is care that aims to relieve suffering, while improving the quality of living and dying. (CHPCA, 2016)

  • A special kind of health care for individuals and families who are living with a life-limiting illness that is usually at an advanced stage
  • The goal is to provide comfort and dignity for the person living with the illness as well as the best quality of life for both this person and his or her family
  • An important objective is relief of pain and other symptoms
  • Palliative care meets not only physical needs, but also psychological, social, cultural, emotional and spiritual needs of each person and family
  • In Canada, both hospice care and palliative care are used to refer to the same thing, however, some people use hospice care to describe care that is offered in the community rather than in hospitals

(Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association)

Rick’s story

Rick story pic

In 2003, my wife was diagnosed with third stage ovarian cancer at 42 years of age. We lived in a place of hope but still planned ahead with our four children as best we could. Four and a half years following her diagnosis, we had to decide how we would prepare intentionally for the final chapter of Pam’s life. We chose palliative care because it was the best way forward through this unknown territory. People specifically trained and experienced at end-of-life care provided exactly what Pam needed to die peacefully in our home. They also provided support for us as we said goodbye to a wife and mother. It was a peaceful passing and we are grateful that we chose that route.

– Rick Bergh