butterfly fly away

At some time, in some way, we must all face the end of life. And when death comes to us or to a loved one, we hope it will be peaceful and free of pain. We hope to be surrounded by those we love, feeling safe, comfortable and cared for.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems 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 (World Health Organization, 2015).

What Palliative Care Services are available in Southern Health-Santé Sud?

young hands holding elderly's hands

Palliative care is a philosophy of care. A Palliative approach to health care is used when a patient’s goals of care shift from treatments which are intended to cure to goals which are focused on quality of life and symptom management. The Palliative approach continues to be a very active level of care, guided by the patients goals of care, striving to ensure patient-centered care. The Palliative approach helps patients achieve the best possible quality of life right up until the end of life.

A person does not need to be close to death to take a Palliative approach to health care. This approach can be taken in any hospital, personal care home or in the patient’s home. It is an approach to care for patients of any age diagnosed with a life limiting illness.

We believe in taking an integrated approach to Palliative care. This means that we have a specialist team available for referrals. Our team works to support health care providers who are already working with a patient. It is not our intent or goal to take over care, but rather to educate other providers and augment the work they are already doing with patients. We want all providers to have confidence and competence to provide high quality palliative care.

We do this by:

  • affirming life and regards dying as a normal process
  • providing relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • integrating the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
  • intending neither to hasten or postpone death
  • offering a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death
  • offering a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement
  • using a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families.

Palliative care is applicable early in the course of illness and will enhance quality of life and may also positively influence the course of illness.

Palliative Care Bow Tie Model

How to Access Services

You can ask for our Palliative Care services by completing a referral, or by calling our administrative support at 204-346-7034.

We are changing the conversation about death and dying. Southern Health-Santé Sud is focused on helping individuals live as fully as possible until the end of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can receive palliative care?

Palliative Care focuses on enhancing quality of life and is not about prolonging or shortening life. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with a life threatening illness and the goals of care are for relief of symptoms and quality of life, you may be referred to the Palliative Care Team. You or your loved one can also self-refer to access services.

Where is palliative care provided?

In Southern Health-Santé Sud, palliative care is provided in health care centres, personal care homes and in homes. All health care providers receive basic education about a palliative approach to care and can work with you and your caregivers to meet your goals of care. Additionally, a specialist team of nurses, doctors and a social worker is available to you, your caregivers and other health care providers to help address pain, nausea, concerns about eating and drinking and planning for the future. You can ask for a palliative care nurse or physician to visit you or your loved one at home, in a health care centre or in a personal care home.

How do I decide where to receive palliative care?

Deciding where you or your loved one will receive care as an illness progresses can be challenging, but planning earlier on can decrease anxiety later on. If supporting a loved one in their journey, talk to them about the type of care they would like to receive at the end of life. Consider and discuss expectations and wishes, care needs, finances, and family needs as well and remember that these decisions may change as the illness evolves.

Those who have a large support network of family and friends who can help with care may choose to remain at home as the illness progresses. Remaining at home in a familiar environment, surrounded by loved ones, may be the best care option in these circumstances. Home care services are available to help you or your loved one and family transition through the end of life journey. It is a good idea to make a list of people who can help you and yours with care, including people from work or community groups. If or when care at home becomes difficult or symptoms become unmanageable, admission to a health care centre may be necessary.

What types of supports are available if I remain at home?

There are programs and supports available to help you remain at home as long as possible. Equipment and supplies such as hospital beds can be accessed through home care services. Medications as well as home oxygen to ease symptoms may be covered through the Manitoba Palliative Care Drug Access Program. Please discuss this or other questions with your health care provider. Palliative care services are focused on improving living until the end of life.