Palliative Care
Palliative Care

Palliative care enhances the quality of life of people with a life-limiting illness. It does this by preventing and relieving suffering. 

In addition to helping the patient, palliative care helps a family cope during a family member’s illness and death, and during the grief process.
Palliative care may include:

  • Help with decisions about treatments
  • Expert medical care to help with pain and other symptoms at home or in hospital
  • End-of-life care
  • Social, psychological, emotional and spiritual support
  • Occupational therapy, physiotherapy and social work
  • Music therapy
  • Support for family, friends and caregivers
  • Trained volunteers to visit with patients
  • Information about financial, legal and other services
  • Bereavement support

Many people think that palliative care is only provided in the last weeks and months of life, when curative treatments are no longer available. A palliative approach to care can help people early in their illness. It can start at diagnosis, when treatments are taking place and there may still be many months and years left to live.

Palliative care is not necessarily provided by a team that only becomes involved at the end of your life. It is ideally provided by the people who know patients the most working together with experts when they are needed.

More about this service

Contact Information

Annapolis and Kings Counties
Annapolis Valley,  Palliative Care Program:  phone 902-542-6303

Cape Breton County, Northern and Central Inverness County and Victoria County
Phone: 902-567-7846    
Fax: 902-567-7962      

Colchester County and Municipality of East Hants
Phone: 902-896-2612    
Fax: 902-896-2608

Cumberland County
Phone: 902-667-5400 ext 6344 Fax: 902-667-1012     

Digby, Shelburne and Yarmouth Counties
Fax: 902-749-1735  

Halifax area (not including IWK Health Centre) and West Hants
Program Manager ph:  902-473-7776
Program Administrative Assistant ph:  902-473-8418

Lunenburg and Queens Counties
Phone: (902) 634-7369
Fax: (902) 527-5413

Pictou County
Phone: 752-7600 x4190/2022
Fax: 905-755-7315   

How do I access services?

Family physicians and frontline care providers, including care co-ordinators, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and spiritual care providers, all play a role in providing palliative care.

These providers can access support from a palliative care team, providers who specialize in complex care planning and symptom management. Their support can complement the care that patients receive from their primary care provider and other members of the care team, but is not meant to replace it. 

Resources for Patients and Families

•Preparing for Death and Dying - A guide for people with life-limiting illness, their families, and their friends
(pdf download - English)

•Se préparer à la mort et à la fin de vie - Guide à l’intention des personnes atteintes d’une maladie limitant l’espérance de vie, de leurs familles et de leurs amis
(.pdf download - French)

•Music Therapy Relaxation Project (link)

EHS Palliative Care Program (.pdf)

EHS Palliative Care Program video (link to youtube video)

Palliative Home Drug Program (.pdf)

Speak Up Nova Scotia Advance Care Planning Workbook (.pdf)


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