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Palliative Care
Planning Ahead

Communicating Your End-of-life Wishes

Planning for the final phase of your life is a way to ensure that your wishes are known by your loved ones. Discussing death is difficult, but it is extremely important that you have this discussion so that your family is aware of your wishes and prepared to act on them.

Voicing your end-of-life preferences now, while you are still able to communicate, can help prepare your family and help them ensure that your wishes are followed. Decisions may include answers to the following questions:

  • What kind of medical treatments or interventions do you think you would want or not want?
  • How important is physical independence to you; how important is staying in your own home?
  • If it were possible, would you want your final days spent in your own home when you were dying?

These can be difficult questions, but it is important to have these discussions with family or friends.

Advance Care Directive

Make sure you have an Advance Care Directive in place. Include your doctor in this discussion. Discuss pain and symptom management options. Have your doctor explain any treatments and procedures that may seem confusing before you complete your Directive. Be sure your doctor is willing to follow your directive. Give your doctor and members of your family copies of your completed directive.

See the Advance Care Directive (Living Will) and Resuscitation Plan pages in our "Patients" section for more information.

Financial Information for Patients

Storing all your important documents together is a good idea. Inform someone you trust of the location of these documents including your will, funeral arrangement information and insurance policies. Using a safe deposit box for important documents may be helpful.

Below is some of the information you may want to list or document:

  1. funeral/memorial service instructions
  2. banking and safe deposit box information
  3. label important keys
  4. insurance policies
  5. health, accident or burial policies
  6. pensions, RRSPs, financial papers and credit information
  7. stocks, bonds, holdings
  8. information about creditors/debtors
  9. registration information for vehicles and title documents for property
  10. list naming your advisors, lawyer, insurance agent, clergy, accountant, power of attorney, etc.  
  11. list of close relatives and friends to contact
  12. list of any personal effects or requests not included in your will
  13. credit cards (names and numbers)

Settling the Estate

After a death occurs, an executor/executrix will settle the estate of the person who has died. Settling the estate refers to various business, financial and property arrangements that may now need attention. For information about settling estates in Saskatchewan.

  • Working Canadians contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) through payroll deductions. When a contributor dies, CPP survivor benefits are paid to the contributor’s estate, surviving spouse or common-law partner, and dependent children. There are three types of benefits:
  1. The death benefit is a one-time payment to the estate of a deceased CPP contributor;
  2. The survivor's pension is a monthly pension paid to the surviving spouse or common-law partner of a deceased contributor; or,
  3. The children's benefit is a monthly benefit for dependent children of a deceased contributor. Dependent children are those under 18, or between the ages of 18 and 25 who are still attending school or university full-time.

In order to receive CPP benefits, you must apply for them. More information about these benefits and who qualifies for them is available at Service Canada.

Veterans Affairs Canada Services and Benefits

Veterans Affairs Canada provides a number of services and offers a number of benefits to qualified veterans and families.  Below is a partial listing of benefits and services you may be eligible for.

Assistance Fund
This fund provides financial assistance for emergencies to any recipient of the War Veterans Allowance (WVA).

Group Health Insurance
This program offers eligible Veterans and certain survivors’ access to group health insurance under the Public Service Health Care Plan.

Health Care Benefits
The Health Care Benefits Program offers a wide range of health care benefits and services.

Health Care Card
Health Care benefits and/or services can be obtained by presenting your Health Identification card or letter to a registered provider.

Providers Information Guide
This guide is for existing providers and for those who wish to become part of our Health Care Provider network. This guide also includes our Benefit Grids which provide information about our treatment benefits, their pre-requisites, and any limits associated with these benefits.

Special Allowances
This allowance provides other financial support for those who have received a VAC disability benefit.

Surviving Dependent Benefits
When a disability pensioner dies, the survivor will continue to receive the same pension (for a period of one year) that was being paid to the pensioner. After this one year period, a survivor's pension will be automatically paid.

Veterans Independence Program
This program is a national home care program to help clients remain healthy and independent in their own homes or communities.

War Veterans Allowance
This allowance offers financial assistance for low-income Veterans and their families.

Visit www.veterans.gc.ca for more information.

Organ Donation

Organ donation by a palliative care patient is not usually possible; however palliative care patients may be successful corneal tissue donors.

It is important to inform your family of your wishes as next-of-kin consent is needed even for registered donors. By knowing your wishes ahead of time your family members can ensure that your request is honoured by informing health care providers of your decision to be a donor before death occurs.

You can find more information about organ donation on the Saskatchewan Transplant Program section.

For information on becoming a corneal tissue donor please visit: www.health.gov.sk.ca/organ-and-tissue

Planning a Funeral

  • Funeral Checklist (coming soon)

For a more detailed Funeral Planning Guide check out the Funeral and Cremation Services Council of Saskatchewan website.

Last Modified: Thursday, February 4, 2016 |
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