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.
How do I access services?
Family physicians and front-line 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.
Contacts by region:
Annapolis Valley Palliative Care
Antigonish/St. Martha’s Palliative Care
Phone: 902-867-4500 ext 4419
Cape Breton County, Northern and Central Inverness County and Victoria County
Colchester County and Municipality of East Hants Palliative Care
Cumberland County Palliative Care
Phone: 902-667-5400 ext 6344
Digby, Shelburne and Yarmouth Counties Palliative Care
Yarmouth : Phone: 902 749 4481 Fax: 902 749 1735
Digby: (902) 245-1304
Shelburne : Phone:(902) 875 4508
Eastern Shore Memorial Palliative Care
Phone: 902- 366-2794 – ext 2249
Fax: 902- 366-2740
Guysborough Memorial Palliative Care
Phone: 902- 533-3702 – ext 3230
Fax: 902- 533- 4066
Guysborough, Antigonish and Richmond Counties and the southern portion of Inverness County
St. Martha’s Palliative care
Phone: 902- 867-4500 ext 4406 or ext 4296
Fax: 902- 867-4242
Halifax area (not including IWK Health Centre) and West Hants Palliative Care
* The office at Dartmouth General Hospital has moved to room 1512 during renovations
office - (902)-473-2132
*You can also reach these individual services directly:
- Palliative Care Community Consultation – serving patients at home via outpatient clinics located throughout Halifax County and West Hants or in their homes in collaboration with community agencies and primary care physicians: Fax: 902-425-6778
- Palliative Care Inpatient Consultation – serving inpatients and clinical teams at QEII, and DGH facilities: * This office has moved to room 1512 during renovations Fax: 902-473-3103
- Palliative Care Inpatient Unit – 10 bed inpatient Unit serving patients for symptom management, and end of life: Phone: 902-473-3119
- Bereavement Services – Bereavement Coordinator: Phone: 902-473-1622
- Palliative Care Volunteer Services – Volunteer Coordinator: Phone: 902-219-1856
Pictou County Palliative Care
Phone: 752-7600 x4190/2022
South Shore Area Palliative Care
Phone: (902) 634-7369
Fax: (902) 527-5413
St. Mary's Memorial Palliative Care
Phone: 902- 522-2882 ext 240
Fax: 902- 522-2556
Strait Richmond Palliative Care
Phone: 902- 625-7211
Fax: 902- 625-2202
- Music Therapy Relaxation Project (link)
- EHS Palliative Care Program (.pdf)
- EHS Palliative Care Program video (link to youtube video)
- Palliative Home Drug Program (.pdf)
Resources for health care professionals
- Library guide (link)
- Health Canada Factsheet: 3 Questions to ask yourself that make difficult conversations about serious illness easier (English)
- Description: Informative document developed by subject experts to help providers start the conversation with their patients about their serious illness.
- Fiche d’information de Santé Canada : Trois questions à se poser pour faciliter les conversations difficiles au sujet des maladies graves (French)
- Description: Document informatif développé par des experts pour aider les professionnels à entamer la conversation avec leurs patients au sujet de leur maladie grave.