What is Hospice Palliative Care?

Hospice palliative care is aimed at relieving suffering and improving the quality of life for persons who are living with, or dying from, advanced illness or are bereaved.

Palliative care is 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 of palliative care 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. 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 meets not only physical needs, but also psychological, social, cultural, emotional and spiritual needs of each person and family. Palliative care may be the main focus of care when a cure for the illness is no longer possible. Palliative care services help people in later life who are ill to live out their remaining time in comfort and dignity.

Quality hospice palliative care neither hastens death or prolongs life. The goal of  hospice palliative care is to improve the quality of life for patients and their families facing problems associated with life-threatening illness.

Palliative care services are helpful not only when a person is approaching death but also during the earlier stages of an illness. Palliative care may be combined with other 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.

Watch Dr. Balfour Mount, the physician that founded palliative in Canada and created the term “palliative care” speak about Dying a Good Death.

The information presented and views expressed in this video represent the views of the interviewees, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Hospice Palliative Care Ontario.

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