Legal framework and description
The Act Respecting End-of-Life Care provides a framework for palliative care in order to ensure that everyone can have access to quality care that is appropriate for their needs throughout the course of their illness.
Palliative care means all the treatment and care given to patients suffering from a terminal illness. Without delaying or hastening death, palliative care aims at giving patients and those close to them the best possible quality of life and providing them with the support they need. Palliative care is organized and provided through the collaborative efforts of a care team to which patients and those close to them contribute.
The palliative care can also be provided earlier in the course of the person’s illness, as a complement to curative treatment (treatment aimed at healing).
The palliative approach is founded on fundamental values that must be the basis for all palliative care provided in Québec:
- Recognition of every person’s unique nature, of the value of life, and of the inevitability of death
- Respect for every person’s dignity
- Involvement of the patients in any decision concerning them; this means that any decision must meet with their freely given, informed consent and must be taken with respect for their autonomy. Depending on their wishes, patients are to be informed of everything concerning them, including their true state of health and respect for their choices
- The right to receive, from care personnel, a compassionate service. This service must be respectful towards the patient and his or her family values and take into account their culture, their beliefs and their religious practices.