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FAQs about Palliative Care



Palliative Care is offered to a person whose disease is no longer curable. It is not offered with the intent to speed up or delay death. Palliative care aims to comfort the patient and family by addressing physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and informational needs. The Northern Health Palliative Care Program supports the health care team to help patients enjoy the best quality of life until death.

My loved one seems to be weaker and thinner every day. I think they might be dying. When and how does a person become palliaitve?

Palliative care and resources is available to anyone with a life-limiting illness. When your or loved one's condition declines to a point that the disease progression is affecting daily life, discuss the situation with your physician and decide if you have reached the palliative stage of your life. Your physician will then assist you in filling out the paperwork needed for accessing local community health services and to register you with the following regional and provincial service programs:

1. Northern Health Palliative Care Program

2. BC Palliative Care Benefits Program

Is there a team that helps with my loved one's care? Can I talk to this team?

Each person is connected through their phsyician to a primary care nurse and team. This team can include nurses, home support services, social workers, aboriginal support, physio/occupational therapists, dieticians, and palliative care volunteers. If you do not have a family physician, there is a nurse and a team available to you.

How many hours a day can I get help?

Home and Community support hours are 7:00am - 9:00pm. The Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) is used to assess how often support and how many hours support will be provided. All services are not available at all times, but an after hours palliative nursing service is available for telephone support and guidance from 9:00pm - 8:00am, seven days a week.

Will my loved one and I be given one particular nurse? How many people will be coming to my house?

Most clients will have one primary nurse assigned to them for care assessments and coordination of services. However, palliative care needs will be carried out by more than one person 

Do you provide personal care for my loved one or am I expected to do this?

Based on the eligibility criteria and needs assessment, your primary nurse will help organize programs such as Home Support to assist with personal care needs.

What are the hours of service for Home Support? Is personal care offered after 4:00pm or on weekends?

Unfortunately, Home Support is not a 24hr/day service, but is available 7 days a week. Home and Community support hours are 7:00am - 9:00pm. The Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) is used to assess how often support and how many hours support will be provided

Are there programs in the community that can help after hours?

Private community supports are constantly changing and may or may not be available to you. Your healthcare team can help you navigate and plan for personal care needs outside of Norther Health provided healthcare hours

I may need supplies and equipment to care for my loved one at home. How do I know what I will need or how to get them?

To receive services, you must be registered by your doctor with the Northern Health Palliative Care Program and assessed by Quesnel Home Health & Community Care Services. (Call 250-983-6850)

To ease the emotional and financial burden of providing care at home, Northern Health provides the following resources:

  • Select medical supplies, such as wound dressings, incontinence supplies, and mouth care swabs

  • Free loan of equipment, such as hospital style bed, mobility aides, commodes, and hospital gowns

  • Home Support to assist with personal care, meal preparation for client, and respite for caregivers

Do you have a list of agencies or vendors who rent or sell equipment that will be needed by my loved one?

The community physio therapist will assess you and your loved one for what equipment will be needed.

  • Red Cross Loan Cupboard

  • Medichair

  • PG Surg Med

  • Local pharmacies

  • Home Hardware

  • Rona

Is there someone to help me with cooking the right food?

The Palliative Social Worker can provide you with local resources to help with menu support and provide a referral to the GRB Hospital dietician

What if I need sheets and incontinence pads for my loved one? If we need a hospital bed, I don't have single sheets/

All linens will come from the hospital when the bed is delivered. Incontinence pads and hospital gowns are also available to you. Just ask any member of your healthcare team

I'm not very strong. Are their lifts available for my home?

Lifts and specialized equipment needs are arranged by the community Physiotherapist after an assessment is complete

What do I do if I can't take care of my loved one anymore? I am afraid I might not be strong enough to do this.

Your primary care nurse will discuss all end-of-life options with you and your loved one to ensure the client is being cared for in the right place and that all needs can be met

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