palliative care

Sedation at the end of life: a legal grey zone

As questions mount regarding what legislation the federal government will enact around doctor-assisted suicide, one end-of-life medical practice receives little public attention. It’s called Continuous Palliative Sedation Therapy (CPST). Formerly known as “terminal sedation,” the therapy is used when all other attempts to relieve a patient’s excessive suffering have failed, and the only option is to

Canada needs to develop standards for Goals of Care conversations

Kieran Quinn

I don’t remember much about my Grandma, but I do remember how she died. It was one of those perfectly tranquil winter nights in January of 2009. My family was at our home finishing dinner when Leisureworld, her long-term care (LTC) facility, called to inform us that she had a fever and low oxygen levels.

The evolving definition and scope of palliative care

Suman Budhwani

Is our health system’s definition of palliative care correct?  The World Health Organization (WHO) describes palliative care as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness.” Keeping this in mind, most of us associate palliative care with comfort-focused care that is delivered within

Why we all need to have end of life conversations

Harvey Chochinov

The last time I was in Israel, I went on some home visits with a palliative care physician in the town of Sfat near the Sea of Galilee. My colleague, a devout Jewish doctor, took me to several homes to offer advice on managing his most serious, terminally ill patients. One older Chassidic Rabbi was

How to prepare for end of life care

Paul Taylor healthy debate patient navigator

The Personal Health Navigator is available to all Canadian patients. Questions about your doctor, hospital or how to navigate the health care system can be sent to The question: I have been following the news about the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling involving Hassan Rasouli, the patient who has been on life support for three years.

Will Dr. Low’s legacy be lost in our culture of fear?

Elizabeth Doyle healthy debate blogger

Dr. Donald Low has directly impacted the lives of Canadians, first as a respected microbiologist who eased our concerns during the SARS crisis of 2003. Now, ten years later, he’s still influencing our views on public health, but the focus of this discussion is on what, morally speaking, we owe each other at the end

How do you want to live your life at the end?

Rocco Gerace healthy debate blogger

Advance care planning is about more than just planning your death; it’s about understanding how you want to live your life.  It’s often a deeply personal experience that involves reflecting on what is important and meaningful to you and sharing your desires, values and beliefs with those around you so that they are aware of

Advance care planning: a difficult conversation

advance care planning end of life palliative care rasouli ontario health care health care policy

Advance care planning is an important process by which people think about how they would like to be cared for if they are seriously ill.  While most Canadians agree that having conversations about advance care planning are important, fewer than half actually do. In some jurisdictions, advance care planning is done much better than it

Medical futility and the end of life

Bram Rochwerg Blogger

Thirty percent of an individual’s Medicare expenditures in the United States are spent in the last year of life, numbers that are very similar to here in Canada. This, in my opinion, represents a fundamental flaw in our medical economic system and culture. As a soon to be critical care fellow at McMaster University this