Where To Find Palliative Care?
March 22nd, 2015

As many of you may be aware, palliative care is a hot topic for discussion currently. In today’s article we look to shed some light on what palliative care options are available to you. For a brief overview of palliative care and related terms – click here.

It can be said that there are 3 main palliative support options to pursue, which can be used in combination with one another.

1) Palliative Home Care: This entails providing home care supports such as registered nurses (RN) and/or personal support workers(PSW) who can care for you at home. Such home care services can be accessed via CCAC (government funded care), or one can also pursue hiring additional private care in the home. In addition, there are community hospice programs which can offer visiting volunteers who may also contribute to one’s care and well-being in their home environment. 

2) Visiting Palliative Care Physicians/Nurse Practitioners(NP): In many areas within the city(Toronto), there are community teams which offer physicians or nurse practitioners who specialize in palliative care.  These physicians/NPs can offer home visits to those in the end stages of life, which allows individuals the option to remain in their home longer, while still having access to needed palliative care. It is very beneficial to have such a support in place, not only because you are able to have home visits, but that you also are provided with an on-call number, which allows you to contact a palliative care physician for consult at all hours( 24/7). 

3) Palliative Care Unit/ Residential Hospice: For those who do not want to die at home, or  feel it is no longer possible to have their care needs addressed at home, there is the option to transfer to either a palliative care unit (PCU) or residential hospice. These are inpatient/residential settings which can address one’s palliative care needs onsite. When it reaches a point where one is no longer able to manage care at home, they can then transfer to such settings for the very end stages of their life (usually within the last few months of life).

There is also the option to submit what can be called a “back-up palliative care application”, in which your health care provider can submit a referral to a palliative care unit/hospice to be kept on file. If and/or when the need arises, your health care provider can then make a call to the PCU/hospice,  who will already have your application on file, and facilitate a transfer.  If one is however able to remain at home, and this is their wish, then nothing comes of the back-up application.This option can be seen as a “precaution” or “back-up plan” for those who ideally want to stay home, but are realistic in that this may not be a feasible option in the future. 


Example: Mr. Brooks has prostate cancer, which has now progressed and as a result his life expectancy is predicted to be within the range of a few months.  His desire is to remain in his home as long as possible, however he does not want to die in his home.  Mr. Brooks consults with his health care team who put in place a care plan for him which includes: 1) CCAC referral to provide  both an RN + PSW to provide home care 2) A palliative care physician who will provide home visits, as well as provide a 24hr on-call number to address concerns/needs at anytime, and 3) Submitting a back-up application to a palliative care unit,which will be activated for transfer towards the very end stages of Mr.Brooks life. 


Below are some options of palliative care supports

Palliative Home Care/Hospice Services:
Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)
Hospice Toronto
Philip Aziz Centre for Hospice Care
Better Living Health and Community Services-Hospice Services
Scarborough Centre for Health Communities


Visiting Palliative Care Physicians/NPs:
Temmy Latner Centre: Serving the north  york/downtown/east york region. See here, for specific service area boundarIes.

Dorothy Ley: Serving most parts of Etobicoke, as well as portions of Toronto and Mississauga. 

Scarborough Palliative Care Clinic : Serving the Scaroborough area, this palliative care clinic offers palliative care physicians who will act as the Most Responsible Physician(MRP)  and consult with the visiting NPs who provide the home care visits.

Hospice and  Palliative Care (HPC) Team- York region: Serving the York region area including Markham, Richmond Hill, and Thornhill. 


Inpatient Palliative Care Units/Residential Hospices:
Scarborough General 
Michael Garron Hospital (Formerly Toronto East General)
Toronto Grace 
St. Michael’s Hospital
William Osler (Etobicoke General and Bramptom Civic)
Kensington Hospice
Dorothy Ley Hospice
Markham Stouffville Hospital 
Mackenzie Health(Richmond Hill)
Hill House Hospice(Richmond Hill)
Credit Valley hospital (Mississauga) 
Lakeridge Health (Oshawa)

Hopefully this information is helpful. Spread the word and share this with a friend, so they can be informed as well.

Until Next Time… Stay In The Know! Stay Informed!



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