Caring About End-of-Life

The final days of someone’s life are as important as any other milestone. This is why palliative-care services are so critical to patients and families.

Palliative care patient with caregiver

Photo courtesy of Carole & Roy Timm Photography.

“Hamilton Health Sciences is committed to helping patients receiving palliative care live beyond just the physical aspects of their lives,” explains Dr. Joshua Shadd, a palliative care physician at St. Peter’s Hospital, which is home to the largest adult inpatient program in Canada.

Holistic care

“While pain and symptom management are important aspects of palliative care, we look after patients holistically – as people who have priorities, values, spiritual and religious beliefs, and a place within a community – and we help them live their remaining days to their fullest.”

“It is an emotional and psychological part of life’s journey.”

As a hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences has a broader range of services to support patients during their journey.

“We have ready access to an interprofessional team of specialists who can provide interventions like X-rays, blood work and blood transfusions when needed,” says Dr. Shadd.

Supporting the entire family

Palliative care services involve providing care and support for the entire family, while enhancing the quality of life for patients.

“It’s important to realize that palliative care is much more than just a medical event,” says Dr. Shadd. “It is an emotional and psychological part of life’s journey.”


What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is specialized medical care for patients with a life-limiting illness. The goal is to maximize the quality of life for patients and their families.

The majority of the patients receiving palliative care at St. Peter’s Hospital have a terminal cancer diagnosis. Others may have end-stage heart, lung, liver, or kidney disorders, or neurological conditions such as ALS or multiple sclerosis.