Making decisions about health care can seem overwhelming at times. The issues are often complex and involve subjects that we’re not used to thinking about in our day-to-day lives. The intensity of decision-making is magnified when life-threatening illness is involved. The stakes feel very high for every choice that arises. If you are dealing with life-threatening illness, you’ll face many decisions, and not just about what type of care is desired. All of these decisions can feel complicated and difficult. Almost all decisions related to health care in palliative situations can be approached by using the following framework:

  • be informed about the issues being considered
  • determine the goals for whatever is being considered
  • determine whether the hoped-for goals are possible to achieve and plan an approach accordingly


Treatment Options

Discussion about treatment options often includes concerns about withholding, or withdrawing treatment. It is normal to be concerned about stopping or changing medications or treatments. It is important to discuss the benefits and burdens of different medications and treatment options openly with your doctor and other health care providers.

Talk to your doctor about specific treatment options, CPR and life support and chances for recovery. A key part of this process is including your family in these conversations to discuss options together and clearly state end of life wishes and preferences.

Compassionate care leave/benefits gives employees the opportunity to take up to 28 weeks of unpaid leave to care for or support a critically ill family member who has a significant risk of death within the next 26 weeks. Visit the Province of Manitoba Employment Standards website to determine your eligibility.


As an illness progresses, you may not know what to expect and may have questions about:


More than 8 million family and friend caregivers in Canada are providing care in the home.
Being the caregiver in a palliative journey can be both a rewarding and difficult experience. When caregiving goes on for a long period of time or when there are specific challenges in providing care, you may feel taxed and stressed. A palliative care nurse can also support family and caregivers in sharing useful approaches and techniques to give care and make practical suggestions to address any concerns. Also, remember to take care of yourself to ensure you can continue taking care of your loved one. Access the caregiver resources below to assist you in this journey:

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)

We understand that while looking into palliative care services, some may be looking for information about Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). MAID is not connected with the Southern Health-Santé Sud Palliative Care Program, but is a distinct service. Get more information about MAID:

Shared Health Manitoba

Southern Health-Santé Sud MAID Policy