Palliative Care Options and services available

Workers need to know the palliative care options that are available in their local community in order to support access for people who are homeless with life-limiting or chronic diseases. These options can be found by searching on-line or by connecting with people in their community.

Online search strategies: The internet can be a useful tool to find out more about the different palliative care options available in the local community and the organizations that offer end-of-life or palliative care services.

When searching on-line for palliative care options available for people who are homeless in the community, think of Who, What, and Where.

Who offers palliative care services?

  • LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) or Regional Health Authority
  • Hospitals
  • Home care
  • Hospices
  • General practitioners
  • Palliative care specialists
  • Nurses
  • Personal Support Workers (PSWs)
  • Spiritual care providers
  • Social care workers
  • Physiotherapists
  • Local organizations that specialize in palliative care for homeless population (e.g. PEACH, CAMPP, PORT)

What are the principles of palliative care?

  • Focus on the goals of the person receiving care (What are their care goals for treating or managing an illness? What end-of-life goals do they have?) Let these guide decisions.
  • Inform and educate the person and their friends/family they have chosen to involve about what palliative care is, what services are offered, and when and where they can access those services
  • Prevent symptoms that can be prevented
  • Manage pain and other symptoms through individualized comfort measures, including medication when necessary
  • Live as well as possible in four areas: physically, psychologically, spiritually and socially

Where are palliative care services offered in some local communities?

  • Sometimes,
    • any place the person considers “home”, including shelters and on the streets
  • More usually,
    • In long-term care homes,
    • In hospices,
    • In hospitals

Some key terms that could be used in an online search to help find the palliative care treatment options available in a local area:

  • Hospice
  • Palliative care services
  • Home care palliative
  • End-of-life care
  • Palliative hospital
  • Palliative options
  • Dying at home
  • Supportive care
  • Advance care planning
  • Chronic illness support

Other search options: One way to find out what palliative services are offered is to connect the person to a local doctor, a hospital care team or palliative care team or even a work colleague.