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Palliative Care
Glossary of Terms

Acute Care: Medical care administered usually in a hospital or by health care professionals for the treatment of a serious injury or illness. At St. Paul’s Hospital our 12 bed Palliative Care Unit is designated acute palliative care. The goal for admission to an acute care bed is to provide active symptom management, or treatment that cannot be provided elsewhere.

Advance Care Planning: The process of planning in advance for your personal and financial care in the event that one day you are unable to make these decisions on your own behalf.

Advance Directive: A set of instructions completed ahead of time for your family and/or care providers to use if you are ill or injured and unable to speak or make decisions about the medical treatment you want to receive. An advance directive is sometimes also known as a ‘living will’.

Anticipatory Grief: The deep emotional distress that can occur when someone has a life-threatening illness and death is expected. Anticipatory grief can feel just as painful as grief felt at the time of the actual death of the person.

Bereavement: The state of having lost someone or something precious to you. The usual emotional reaction to bereavement is known as grief. Some people use the word mourning interchangeably with the word grief; others consider that mourning refers more to the social or cultural expressions of grief (for example, in some cultures, widows in mourning wear black after the death of their spouses). “Grieving is the act of affirming or reconstructing a personal world of meaning that has been challenged by loss.” Dawn Hill, Penticton & District Palliative Care Program.

Compassionate Care Employment Insurance Benefits: May be paid up to a maximum of six weeks to a person who has to be absent from work to provide care or support to a gravely ill family member at risk of dying within 26 weeks. Unemployed persons receiving Employment Insurance can also ask for these benefits.

Community Health Workers: Sometimes known as Home Support workers, they provide personal assistance at home with things like medications, bathing, dressing and caregiver support. The client and Home Care professional decide together how much and what type of help is required. The client’s care plan is reviewed on a regular basis. As needs change, services in the home may be adjusted.

Grief: See also Bereavement

Holistic Care: The treatment of the whole person, not just the clinical symptoms of a disease, including emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual and physical care for both patients and their loved ones.

Home and Community Care: Offer a range of supportive services provided in your home and other settings. Home and Community Care staff and nurses work closely with Palliative Care Services, and are usually the ones who first register people for our program of care when appropriate. Other Home and Community Care services for eligible clients may include:

  • nursing
  • physiotherapy and occupational therapy
  • nutrition
  • social work
  • case management
  • home support
  • end-of-life care
  • adult day programs
  • community clinics
  • assisted living
  • access to residential care facilities
  • short term residential care for caregiver relief

Home Support: See Community Health Workers, above

Long Term Care: Care in a facility that provides 24 hour professional care and supervision for people who have complex health needs. Staff members administer medications and assist residents who require help with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing.

Long Term Care Home: A facility that is licensed by the province of Saskatchewan, also known as a nursing home or residential care facility.

Occupational Therapist: A rehabilitation professional who assists people to learn skills and techniques needed to perform activities of daily living.

Oncologist: A doctor who specializes in the treatment of people diagnosed with cancer. A radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation therapy; a medical oncologist specializes in treating cancer with medications.

Palliative Care: Palliative or ‘comfort care’ is for life-limiting illness rather than curative treatments. It involves professional medical care, advanced pain and symptom management, and emotional, spiritual and practical support based on the patient’s wishes and family’s needs. The term “palliative care” is often used interchangeably with ‘hospice care’ in Canada. Both terms refer to a compassionate approach that includes medical, emotional, spiritual, and social care that aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families who are facing advanced illness, death and bereavement. Palliative care can be delivered in a person’s own home, a hospice, a hospital palliative care unit, or residential care facility.

Palliative Care Benefits Program: The Saskatchewan Palliative Care Benefits Program supports people of any age who have reached the end stage of a life-threatening disease or illness. Under this program, eligible patients receive coverage of palliative care medications, medical supplies and equipment. Benefits under this program continue for as long as the person is assessed as requiring palliative care.

Physiotherapist: A rehabilitation professional who assists individuals in maximizing mobility and restoring strength and body movement.

Power of Attorney: A legal document that appoints another person to make financial and legal decisions for you.

Respite: A break, a sense of relief that contributes to an overall sense of well-being. Respite care provides at-home caregivers with a break from the responsibility of providing care. Respite Care is available for varying set lengths of time (depending on circumstances) in community settings and in long term care facilities.

Last Modified: Thursday, March 27, 2014 |
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