The point at which palliative care is called for will be determined by the doctor, on the basis of his or her clinical expertise and that of the other members of the care team. All the patient’s needs will be taken into account, in addition to an estimate of the likely progress of the illness until death.
Further to an assessment of the patient’s condition, palliative care is given by health professionals chiefly in the following places:
Residential and long-term care centres (CHSLD)
Palliative care hospices
Continuous palliative sedation
In some complex situations, it may be impossible to relieve the suffering and pain of a person at the end of life through normal palliative care. The use of continuous palliative sedation may then be considered as a treatment option.
This is a palliative treatment in which medication is administered to patients at the end of life, at their own request or that of a relative, to relieve their suffering by keeping them unconscious.
Under the Act Respecting End-of-Life Care, continuous palliative sedation is now subject to guidelines and certain requirements must be met. To be able to receive this treatment, end-of-life patients must freely give their informed consent. If they are incapable of giving consent, their representative must do on their behalf. The prescribed consent form must be signed in the presence of the doctor and filed in the patient’s record.
Patients who agree to receive continuous palliative sedation are always free to change their mind. They can, at any time and by any means, withdraw their consent to continuous palliative sedation.