Palliative care assessment tools and resources

Providing care for clients and families facing life-limiting illness can be very rewarding but also very challenging.
Clients and families may have many questions about the illness. They may also have questions about Advance Care Planning. They may wonder where they can receive care and what services and resources are available. They may ask about Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).
In addition, some clients with life-limiting illness can have pain and other symptoms that can be difficult to manage which affects their quality of life.
Regular assessment of physical, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual needs is a critical component of a palliative approach to care.
Standardized tools and resources can improve the quality of the assessment and ensure a common language when communicating with other health-care providers regarding client status.

Resources include:

Advance Care Planning (ACP)

Advance Care Planning is a process of reflection and communication. It is a time for individuals to reflect on their values and wishes and to let loved ones know what kind of health-care they would like to receive in the future.

Did you know:

  • 73 per cent of individuals want more information from their health-care provider so that they can plan and begin Advance Care Planning conversations
  • 80 per cent feel these conversations should start when they are healthy or when they are diagnosed with a life-limiting illness

The Serious Illness Conversation Guide (PDF) is a tool that can be helpful to health care providers when preparing for and conducting conversations with individuals with life-limiting illness and their families.

There are also several Advance Care Planning resources available. Please refer to Advance Care Planning section for more information.

Pain and symptom management

A palliative approach to care includes effective management of pain and other physical, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual symptoms.

The following tools may be helpful in supporting the health-care team in effective pain and symptom management:

End-of-life order sets

If you require additional assistance in ensuring good pain and symptom control, you may also consider a referral to Whole Community Palliative Rounds (WCPR) or to the Palliative Care Consult Service/Pain and Symptom Management Team.

Some clients may also be able to access the Paramedics Providing Palliative Care program.

Community End-of-Life Program

The Community Support Program provides palliative care services in both the home and community clinic setting. Please see palliative care in the community section for more information.

Paramedics providing palliative care

Paramedics Providing Palliative Care is a program within the St. John’s Metro. Trained Paramedics provide clients with urgent pain and symptom management needs in the home.

More information can be found in the brochure,  Paramedics Providing Palliative Care.

Grief and bereavement resources

There are many grief and bereavement services available throughout Eastern Health. Services can include individual and family counselling, two-hour grief and bereavement information sessions, an eight-week grief and bereavement program as well as multiple support groups.

To learn more, visit the Pastoral Care, Ethics and Bereavement webpage.

Provincial Palliative Care Resource Guide

The provincial Palliative Care Resource Guide (PDF), reflects the palliative care services available across Newfoundland and Labrador and provides healthcare professionals the information and contacts needed to support patients and families during their palliative journey.

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)

Clients and families facing life-limiting illness may have questions about Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).

While not all health-care professionals participate in the MAiD process, they are obligated to ensure that individuals inquiring about MAiD are connected with appropriate resources, information and other health-care providers who can help.

To learn more, visit the MAiD webpage.

Initiating a client assessment

Clients can be assessed virtually, in an outpatient clinic, in hospital as an inpatient or at home. Home visits are currently provided to individuals who live in greater St. John’s metro area which includes west to Seal Cove, east to Pouch Cove and south to Bay Bulls.

  • To request an assessment from a physician or nurse practitioner, please complete a referral form (ch 1151) (link) (Download doc from intra and insert here) and fax to 709-777-8970.

Telephone advice and support for health-care providers

Palliative Care Nurse Navigator
Call 709-777-7303, Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Palliative Care Unit
Call 709-777-8610, Monday  to  Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

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Last updated: 2023-03-14