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This year, National Hospice Palliative Care Week falls from May 7th to 13th. This special week is when the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association asks Canadians to learn about hospice palliative care and advance care planning. They ask that Canadians get over their fear and find out the facts of palliative care. They also ask that we make a bucket list of 5 things to do before we die.

What is hospice palliative care?

Hospice palliative care is a way of relieving suffering and improving the quality of life for those who are dying, bereaved or living with an advanced illness. This specialized care helps with pain management, symptom management and caregiver support. It will also support you socially, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.

Most people approaching end of life are supported by their families and friends. When they need help, a palliative care team steps in to provide specialized services. Sometimes the members of these teams are volunteers who provide much needed time off for caregivers.

Care can be provided at home or in hospitals, hospices and long term care facilities. There are different methods of paying for palliative care across the country. If you or a loved one is receiving care at home, it may be paid for by the province as part of a home care program. Private health insurance may also cover the costs. If palliative care is provided in the hospital there is usually no cost as it is paid for by provincial health plans.

Speak to your family and loved ones regarding the care you would like to receive if and when the need arises. Put it in writing if you like in case you are unable to make your wishes known at the time. This way your health care provider will also be made aware of what you would like.

For more information on palliative care and National Hospice Palliative Care Week, click here.