A terminal illness is always a challenge families struggle to face. Many advanced cancer patients would prefer to pass at home, among their family and friends, in a familiar environment, but many families struggle to find a way to make it possible. How it works changes depends on where you happen to live. Not only are there major differences province to province, but even regions in Ontario have different standards depending on the local resources available to families. No matter how you manage to access help, the basics of home palliative care remain similar. You will need a team that includes a doctor, a caregiver, the family, and maybe even a spiritual advisor.

Physicians – Physicians have to anticipate the kind of medication and treatment that their patient will need in between visits. It’s their job to determine how the patient should be treated to best alleviate pain and discomfort. It will be up to the family, nurses, and caregivers to implement that treatment plans. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get home visits, but if that’s not available, you will be making a number of trips to the hospital. Luckily, companies like Mavencare in Ontario offer transportation services to families who can’t provide it themselves.

Family – Much of the burden will fall on families, especially when it comes to filling any gaps left by government-funded programs. You will want to try to fairly divide the responsibilities as much as possible because it can be a draining experience for one individual to take on alone. However, sometimes families don’t live in the same city as an older loved one who requires palliative care. That does not mean that that staying at home is not an option, thanks to at home caregiver services; companies like Mavencare make it easy to connect families with trustworthy caregivers and keep them connected through a mobile app and frequent updates.

At Home Caregivers — Many of the inconsistencies in service can bee attributed to the troubled CCAC system. Each CCAC is funded differently, and allocates its resources differently, leaving Ontarians largely in the lurch. Even the GTA is divided up by several CCAC regions. When you need senior home health care in Canada to fill the gaps, consider hiring private caregivers through a reputable agency with a thorough screening process and rigorous hiring standards. You can get some caregiver help through your CCAC, but for palliative care, it likely will not be enough. Today, you can get help from live in caregivers, 24/7 help (in which personal support workers are present in two or three shifts throughout 24 hour periods, so someone is always awake and on-the-job), or respite services if family members have taken up the majority of the responsibilities.

The vast majority of people want to spend the rest of their lives at home, and at home palliative care can make it possible. If your family needs help, it’s time to make the call.