Palliative Care refers to care for patients facing a serious, life-limitting illness. Palliative Care is a patient-centred coordinated care that aims to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for patients and their families at all stages of the illness.

Palliative Care treats the entire person and their family, not just the disease so that the patient may live as fully, and as comfortably as possible until the end of their life by addressing physical concerns such as nausea and pain, as well as emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and their family.

Advanced Care Planning is a series of conversations to help you and your Substitute Decision Maker to help prepare you for future healthcare decisions if there comes a time you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions due to illness, an accident, or if you are unconscious.

Advanced Care Planning is a way for you to speak with your Substitute Decision Maker about your wishes and how they can make decisions on your behalf if there comes a time where you are unable to do so.

As long as you are capable of making your own decisions, you will be able to do so. If you recover and become mentally capable again, you will be able to make your own decisions.

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)

Medical Assistance in Dying became legal in Canada in 2016 with the passing of Bill C-14. Ontario's Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017 clarified the responsibilities and legal protection for health care providers and patients navigating medically assisted deaths.

In order to be eligible for MAiD, a patient must:

  • be eligible for publicly funded health care services in Canada (or in the applicable waiting period),
  • be 18 years of age or older,
  • be capable of making health care decisions,
  • have a grievous and irremediable medical condition, which means:
    • the patient has a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability, and
    • the patient is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capabilities, and
    • the patient is enduring physical or psychological suffering, caused by the medical condition or the state of decline, that is intolerable to the person and cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable;
  • be making a voluntary request;
  • provide informed consent to medical assistance in dying, which means:
    • for a patient whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable, the patient provides consent after having been informed of the means that are available to relieve their suffering, including palliative care.
    • for a patient whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable, the patient provides consent:
      • after having been informed of other means available to them, including counselling, mental health supports, disability supports, community services and palliative care; and
      • after having been offered consultation with relevant professionals, as available and applicable; and
      • after having discussed these means with the medical or nurse practitioner and given serious consideration to these means
Source: Ontario Ministry of Health

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