Supportive & Palliative Care

Supportive care is intended to meet the physical, emotional, psychosocial, spiritual, and practical needs of people living with or affected by cancer. Supportive care is not exclusive to a particular stage of disease as individuals may have supportive care needs beginning from the time the possibility of cancer is first raised.

  • Palliative Care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification, assessment and treatment of illness related issues. Palliative care can be provided at any stage of the disease, from diagnosis through survivorship or the end of life. 
  • Advance care planning conversations about a person's illness understanding, their values and beliefs, and their goals and wishes for future care are a key part of the palliative care approach. These discussions should happen early rather than at the end of life, and should be ongoing as a person's needs and preferences may change.
  • End- of-Life Care refers to the palliative care delivered to individuals and patients in the last months of life. 
  • Psychosocial Care focuses on a whole-person approach to providing supportive care through a multidisciplinary team that includes providers from various care settings. The disciplines include: oncology, nursing, social work, nutrition, psychology, palliative care, psychiatry, rehabilitation, volunteer services, and spiritual care.
  • Survivorship care helps patients who are transitioning out of active treatment and may be facing challenges caused by cancer or its treatment. This care is oriented towards maintaining or improving overall health and wellness. 

The Cancer Care Ontario Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care pathway is a resource that provides an overview of the psychosocial and palliative care that an individual in the Ontario cancer system may receive.

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