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Further Information for Patients and Families

What is Hospice Palliative Care?

Hospice Palliative Care (HPC) is the care offered to a person whose disease is no longer curable. It is not offered with the intent to hasten or delay death. It does strive to provide comfort to the patient and family by addressing physical, emotional, social, spiritual and information needs. The Northern Health (NH) HPC Program offers a support system to help patients enjoy the best possible quality of life until death.

How you may be feeling?

Whether you are a person who has been given a diagnosis of a life threatening illness, or a family member, you may be feeling overwhelmed as you face change and loss. It is normal to feel this way and to experience a range of emotions. The NH HPC team and services are provided to support you on your journey. The more information and support you have, the more in control and able to cope you may feel.

Who provides Hospice Palliative Care?

  • You and your family are the center of the team. Your health care team will ensure that you have the knowledge and the understanding of your situation to enable you to make informed choices.
  • At this stage of life the needs of yourself and your family are complex; a team approach is essential. In addition to your family doctor, your team my include specialist doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, volunteers, care aides, physiotherapist, occupation therapists, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, spiritual care providers, and counselors.
  • A HPC Consultation Team is also available to assist and advise your health care team. The Consultation Team includes a doctor, pharmacist, and a registered nurse, all with advanced training and expertise in HPC.

HPC Services and Resources


Whether you are at home, in hospital, a hospice bed or a long term care facility, your health care team will provide:

  • Care to help relieve symptoms such as pain, nausea, shortness of breath, fatigues, insomnia, etc.
  • Information on services and care options, legal and financial matters.
  • Teaching for families on how to provide or assist with care.
  • Emotional support.
  • Referrals to available services, e.g. volunteers, counseling.


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

  • Selected medical supplies, e.g. wound dressings, incontinence supplies, mouth care swabs, etc.
  • Free loan of equipment, as available in your area, e.g. hospital style bed, safety and mobility aides, commodes, hospital gowns, etc.
  • Home support: free of charge to you, i.e. trained Community Health Workers who will provide assistance with personal care and meal preparation for the patient, and prove a break (respite) for their caregiver.

You must be registered by your doctor with the Northern Health HPC Program and assessed by your local Home Care Services before receiving these services. Home Health / Community Services office

BC Palliative Care Benefits Program

This is a provincial program that provides selected prescription and over the counter medications which may be needed to control your symptoms. Ask your doctor to register you for this program, if you are eligible.

Compassionate Care Benefits

Federal EI program providing up to 6 weeks of special benefits to specified family members caring for or providing support to a seriously ill family member. Check Services Canada EI Compassionate Care Benefits website for who is eligible and for what forms need to be completed.

Hospice Palliative Care in Your Area

Discuss your situation with your doctor. If applicable, she or he will:

  • Register you with NH HPC Program
  • Register you with the BC Palliative Care Benefits Program
  • Refer you to Home Care Services, i.e. nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, home support.

Hospice Volunteers

Are available to help patients in any care setting. Contact your local Hospice Palliative Care Society.