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What is Palliative and End-of-Life Care

Meet the Team

Most pe​ople receive palliative and end-of-life care from their family and friends. But sometimes you may need or choose extra support from a palliative and end-of-lifecare team. Team members look at what's important to you and your goals of care. They encourage you, your family, and other caregivers to make choices about the type of care that's right for you and that meets your goals and wishes.

A palliative and end-of-life care team m​ay have different members depending on what you and your family need. Find out more about the team below.

Family Physicians

Working together, within the community, family physicians provide a system of front-line health care to all Albertans that is accessible, aims to be high-quality, comprehensive, and continuous. Family physicians provide comprehensive medical care for all people, ages, life stages, and presentations. This continuous community care includes all clinical domains, both acute and chronic, and all stages, from preventive to palliative care. (Their work may cross many care settings and regulatory environments, including: Primary care; Emergency care; Home and long-term care; Hospital care; and Maternal and newborn care.)

Nurses

Registered nurses (RNs) work in hospitals, hospices, continuing care centres, and in people's homes. They may have special training, education, and expertise in palliative and end-of-life care. RNs work with licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and other healthcare providers to plan and set up your care.

Nurse practitioners

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are RNs with advanced training and skills. They can help your family physicians with your care. They are able to order and interpret certain tests, communicate diagnoses, prescribe medicine, and perform some procedures.

Palliative care consultants

Palliative consultants are doctors and nurses (nurse practitioners and registered nurses) with special training in palliative care. They help your family doctor to treat any discomfort( pain, nausea, shortness of breath), plan your care, and they can visit you at home, in any facility, in the hospital, or in a hospice.

Social workers

Social workers connect you and your family with resources and services to help with the personal and social problems of life-limiting illness and disability. These issues (e.g., money problems, grief before and after a loss, funeral services) may come up during an illness, the time close to death or at death, and during bereavement. Social workers get you and your family talking about hopes and goals, and help with support services when you're discharged home, to a hospice, or hospital.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Practitioners

Paramedics provide emergency medical care in the community and may be called to your home during a palliative emergency. Paramedics routinely provide assessment, treatment and transport to hospital, however they may also be able to offer treatments in the home through the EMS Palliative and End-of-Life Care Assess, Treat and Refer program.

Chaplains and spiritual counsellors

Chaplains and spiritual counsellors are trained to give emotional and spiritual support and comfort to people of all faiths and beliefs. They offer spiritual care help to you and your family to help deal with illness, grief, and loss. Chaplains can also provide religious and spiritual services (e.g., prayers, end-of-life ceremonies), depending on your needs.

Volunteers

Volunteers work with your team of healthcare professionals to offer important support services. They can be companions for you, give relief to your caregivers, and help you with daily activities like getting groceries and going to appointments.

Other team members

Depending on your needs, your palliative and end-of-life​ care team may have other members, such as:

  • psychologists
  • nutritionists
  • physiotherapists
  • occupational therapists
  • respiratory therapists
  • home support workers​​​​​​​​
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