Some Frequently Asked Questions about Palliative Care. Have a question that is not on this list, no worries – Just ask us! 

What is Hospice Palliative Care?

Hospice palliative care is not a place, but rather an approach to the care of people with life-threatening illnesses (e.g. advanced cancers, end-stage heart and lung disease), which instead of focussing on the disease emphasizes the care of the whole person and their family, with particular attention to pain and symptom control and quality of life.

This care is provided by a multidisciplinary palliative care team with a core group of nurses, physicians and social workers supported by other professionals as necessary in areas such as pastoral care, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychiatry, pharmacy, art and music therapy. The care may provided in a variety of settings, including the patient’s home, a nursing home, palliative care unit, hospital in-patient unit or in a free-standing hospice.

Historically palliative care was synonymous with end-of-life care, but following the pioneering work of Dame Cicely Saunders at St Christopher’s Hospice in the 1970s the ‘palliative approach’ is now increasingly being integrated into cancer care at a much earlier stage, also into health care in general.

Hospice palliative care seeks to help people approaching the end of their life to continue to live with meaning and dignity, to relieve their suffering and ultimately to have ‘a good death’.

What Services are Available from Palliative Care?

  • Expert medical care to help with pain and other symptoms
  • Emotional support for family members and friends
  • Spiritual support, covering all faiths and beliefs
  • Trained volunteers to visit and give emotional support
  • Arranging for home care services
  • Arranging respite care for at-home care givers
  • Telephone counselling in crisis situations
  • Help in adjusting to change
  • Ongoing bereavement support after the death of a loved one


Can Palliative Care be Provided in Any Setting?

Yes, Palliative Care can be provided in any setting. 

  • At home
  • In the hospital
  • In Nursing homes
  • Or in some cases- hospice facilities

How do I access the Palliative Care services?

There are palliative care services available in all health districts in Nova Scotia. Below is a link to all the Palliative Care places in Nova Scotia.


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