Palliative Care

Palliative care is a holistic approach to active and supportive care for patients and their families facing a life-threatening illness. The aim is to prevent and ease suffering, while promoting an excellent quality of life right up until the end of life.

An important objective of palliative care can be relief of pain and other symptoms although palliative care also meets psychological, social, cultural, emotional and spiritual needs of each person and family. Palliative care services are helpful not only when a person is approaching death but also during the earlier stages of an illness.

  • Palliative Care Toolkit for Indigenous Communities. This toolkit includes resources and reference material for First Nations, Métis and Inuit families and communities. It can be used to help support people with cancer who have palliative care needs. These education materials can be used by anyone in the community.

When does palliative care begin?

Palliative care can be provided at any stage of the disease, from diagnosis through survivorship or the end of life.

  • Alongside therapies that are intended to cure or modify disease (such as surgery or chemotherapy)
  • As the main focus of care for patients and families once curative treatments are no longer effective
  • Near the end of life to prepare the person and his or her family for the dying process
  • After death, in the form of support for bereaved family and loved ones

Who benefits from palliative care?

Individuals and families living with life-limiting illnesses benefit from palliative care. Many people who receive palliative care have cancer. Palliative care also helps those living with other diseases such as advanced heart, respiratory and kidney disease, Alzheimer disease, AIDS, ALS and Multiple Sclerosis.

Who provides palliative care?

Healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, allied health professionals and community health service workers can provide palliative care.

How to Refer to Palliative Care Services in the Toronto Central Region

Palliative Care Organizations

Visit these organizations for more palliative care tools and education for healthcare providers, and information for patients, families and caregivers.