We’re looking at palliative care options for my dad, who has terminal cancer. How does care differ between the hospital, a hospice and a home?
All palliative care options work to relieve the pain and suffering of the terminal patient and to improve quality of life. The care can be provided in a hospital, long-term-care facility or the home. The amount of involvement needed from family members varies from hospital to residential hospice to home care. In hospital, the family will be able to assist with the feeding, clothing, exercising and just being with the ill person. Family members will likely be the most involved in the homecare setting, including possibly giving medications, bathing and providing companionship. Caring for someone who is dying at home can be overwhelming, so getting as much support as possible is crucial for the wellbeing of family members as well as the patient. Most provinces have some form of government-funded homecare related to hospice care that can assist the family with all that needs to be done to look after someone who is dying at home. In addition, many homecare agencies have specialized palliative care programs that can be privately funded to provide respite for the family.