In Alberta, there are many options to get palliative and end of life care—your home, a hospital, a continuing care centre, or a hospice.
Hospices are places made to feel like home while giving specialized end of life care, 24/7. The care teams focus on comfort and quality of life, and can help patients and their family cope with feelings about serious illness.
In a hospice, palliative care is provided by health professionals, volunteers, and spiritual counsellors. Services include:
- managing pain
- helping with daily living activities (personal care)
- emotional, psychological and spiritual support.
Before accessing palliative care or a hospice, a health care team discusses with patients on what’s important to them and where they would like to be at the time of their illness where they may either have: a life expectancy of less than 3 months; signed a form saying they do not want to be resuscitated or a need to be in a bed or chair most of the time. A patient’s choice may change as an illness changes, and individuals can get palliative and end of life care at any time.
There’s also a new program that’s helping to bring emergency care to people who get palliative and end of life care in their homes. The EMS Assess, Treat, Refer program has Emergency Medical Services, home care clinicians, doctors, and families working together to help people stay in their homes if that’s what they wish.
Contact Health Link at 811 for more information on hospices or programs that provide end of life care in your area, or for eligibility.