The end of life’s journey is a natural part of living, but it can be a difficult time for patients and their families. The Palliative Care Program at St. Peter’s Hospital provides end-of-life care to adult patients who are experiencing a life-threatening illness. With 60 beds, the program is home to Canada’s largest palliative care unit.
“The focus of our interdisciplinary team is to help people live as fully as possible with dignity as they reach the end of the journey,” says Dr. Beverly Hattersley, Medical Director of Palliative Care. “The work we do is about honouring the goals and wishes of patients and helping them make the most of every day.”
The specialists in the program provide care for the whole family, not just the patient.
“Conversations around end-of-life care are important for the patient’s loved ones too, so it’s important to include them in discussions,” says Dr. Richard Seeley, Chief of Complex Care, Aging and Palliative Care at St. Peter’s Hospital. “Those discussions occur in an honest, sensitive and compassionate way, taking into account such factors as their values, social environment, cultural environment and religious beliefs.”
For Dr. Hattersley, working in the Palliative Care Program brings many rewards.
“It’s incredibly meaningful work because you’re able to have very real and important conversations about what’s important in life,” she says. “I feel grateful for the opportunity to help people in their journey.”