Palliative Care

If you're in the hospital or living at home, we're here to help you and your family as you face serious illness.

We provide care that meets your many different needs. Our teams specialize in managing symptoms and side effects. We're also experts in end of life care.

Your family doctor or specialist can refer you to us. Our services include:

Here are some questions we often hear about palliative care:

  • Does being referred to the Palliative Care Team at the Durham Regional Cancer Centre mean I'm dying?

    No. Our Palliative Care Team helps manage pain and other symptoms at any stage of disease or illness. We do provide end of life care, but many of our patients are in active treatment. Complex pain and symptoms can occur early on in some illnesses. We specialize in managing these symptoms.

  • Is palliative care the same as hospice care?

    No. In Ontario, hospice care refers to volunteer organizations who provide support to patients at home who are nearing end of life. It may include support for caregivers, help with preparing meals, or providing grief counselling.

    Our Palliative Care Team provides pain and symptom management to patients at any stage of their disease. We help patients on an outpatient basis working with other community agencies to meet their needs, while also providing consultations to patients who have been admitted to our hospital.
  • Can I receive palliative care at home?

    Yes.  We work with the Central East Home and Community Care Program and their community partners to help you at home.  Home visits by our doctors may be available for some locations.  The level of support you receive at home depends on your needs and stage of illness. For more information, talk to a care coordinator from the Home and Community Care Program.
  • Can I receive palliative care in the hospital?

    Yes, if a patient with palliative care needs is staying in our hospital, our Palliative Care team can provide the care he or she needs.
  • What is an inpatient palliative care unit?

    An inpatient palliative care unit is a unit in the hospital where patients can stay if they are at an advanced stage of illness. These patients are no longer being treated for their disease. The focus is on maximizing their comfort and minimizing any bothersome symptoms.  Most people who stay in an inpatient palliative care unit live the rest of their life there.

Helpful information

Making decisions about your future care

Supports and resources for caregivers

Medical Assistance in Dying

Websites with helpful information