Comfort Life - Your guide to retirement & care

Palliative Care Homes

For end-of-life care, a unique compromise between home and hospitalization

Find palliative or hospice care now

When seniors face a serious illness, searching for the right care can exacerbate family stress in already difficult circumstances. Families can bypass waiting lists and other obstacles to proper care by considering local seniors' care facilities. Retirement residences can provide excellent medical care in a superb healthcare environment, staffed by professional caregivers.

The situation with health care in select regions of Canada may be unfortunate (due to cutbacks, waiting lists and bed shortages), but families can take matters into their own hands, learning all they can about this very practical alternative and consulting with residences listed here.


Let's look at some of the particulars of how palliative and hospice care is dealt with across Canada, in a variety of provinces and regions:

In British Columbia, palliative care is offered in hospitals and home care services, but care is also available in some BC retirement homes. The provincial government offers palliative care benefits, available to residents receiving hospice or palliative care at home or in a supportive/assisted living residence in BC, or in a hospice unit at a residential care facility. Benefits help to cover medications and medical supplies and equipment. If you are seeking palliative care in the province, be sure that your care provider is a member of the BC Hospice Palliative Care Association.

Find palliative care homes in Vancouver and area.

In the province of Ontario, as elsewhere, palliative care takes place in hospitals and other health care settings, as well as in the home, using home care services. Many Ontario retirement homes also offer palliative care services. Hospice Palliative Care Ontario works toward a "future where every person and family in the province of Ontario can quickly and easily access the finest standard of hospice palliative care when required."1 There are also various organizations focused on different palliative care including, for example, those with cancer (see

Palliative care is a service offered by Ontario retirement homes in several communities across the province. Learn more about this care in your part of Ontario:

As of 2016, the government of Canada has committed $3 million over the next three years to the Pallium Foundation of Canada, to help "ensure that Canadians receive the compassionate care they need."2 Palliative care places a strain on public health care resources. Various authorities admit the need for "new care models" that improve integration and continuity of care, access to and quality of end-of-life care. Both seniors and the retirement residence industry have opportunity to work together to propagate a new care model and create new, ever-improving options in this type of care.

"Hospitals or long term care wards all have to follow the same rules and regulations," says the CEO of the Ontario Retirement Communities' Association. Thus, "the way they operate, the services they provide... are all pretty much the same." There are waiting lists to which ailing seniors and their families must apply, in order to get into these care facilities.

It's a fact that there are some typical negatives you will face when you need a bed in long-term or other government-run health care facilities:

Retirement homes offer a more personalized alternative that all families should definitely take into consideration.

The steps to finding the right palliative care home are similar to the steps toward finding the right retirement home under any other circumstances. It's best to begin your search ahead of time and consider all your alternatives. Unfortunately, not many people do this, so you may be under some duress as you look for a home. Don’t let haste cloud your judgement.

Comfort Life offers an easy checklist of things to look for as you research local care. Before you begin to look, some basics to keep in mind are:

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Of course, there are many more. Our Ultimate Retirement Tour Checklist lists over 150 questions to consider, as you check out options. See the download, at right.

People and families facing final days go through immeasurable anxiety and stress.  Doing so in a hospital setting is okay, but alternatives like retirement homes offer a more comfortable, even consolatory environment. Living in a setting that is roomier, and less clinical and structured helps make the best of this final passage, for all concerned.

Sharron Brooks (quoted above) says seniors moving into hospice care where she works "know their life is coming to an end, but they feel comfortable with us. This is a home."

Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association includes a wide variety of resources and information. Its Fact Sheet on Hospice Care is full of interesting data.
1Hospice Palliative Care Ontario provides a variety of services and resources including education for patients and caregivers.
2Pallium Canada provides care education for all care providers, including healthcare professionals, educators and other carers.
Why Canadians don't use palliative care

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