Palliative care consult/pain & symptom management

What we do

The palliative care consult service/pain and symptom management provides supportive care and education for patients and families, and works with referring clinicians to help ensure pain and other symptoms (physical, emotional and spiritual) are well controlled. The consult service also works closely with other members of the health-care team to help clients and patients be comfortable and ensure they have the best possible quality of life.

Who we see

Anyone diagnosed with a life-limiting illness or condition can seek a referralto the palliative care consult service at any point during their illness, including:

  • those whose symptoms are not well controlled; and/or
  • those who would like to be admitted to the Palliative Care Unit in St. John’s for end-of-life care. These individuals would need to be referred to the consult service for assessment.

Our team

The palliative care consult service/pain and symptom management team consists of doctors, nurse practitioners and other health providers that have specialized training in managing pain and  symptoms that are common in life-limiting illnesses or conditions. Learn more.

How to access this service

A referral to the program can be made by a physician or nurse practitioner involved in the client’s care by sending a complete palliative services/symptom management referral form (PDF) to 709-777-8970.

Once a referral is received, the palliative care nurse navigator will contact the client to arrange an appointment and determine where services can be accessed.

Where we are

The palliative care consult service can provide services in a variety of settings and locations:  

Health-care facilities (inpatient)

Health-care facilities (outpatient)

Home visits

  • Available for individuals and family who live in the greater St. John’s metro area (includes west to Seal Cove, east to Pouch Cove and south to Bay Bulls).

Virtual visits (phone or video)

  • Available for individuals and family who live in the Eastern Health region.

Long-term care sites

  • Available at long-term care facilities in the Eastern Health region when consulted by the attending physician. Learn more.

Hours of operation

Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (excluding holidays)

How to reach us

Telephone: 709-777-7303 or toll-free at 1-855-690-7303

Frequently asked questions

I live outside of St. John’s.  Can I still access the palliative care consult services and pain and symptom management? 

Yes, an appointment with the palliative care consult team can be arranged in a variety of ways depending on your situation. This will be determined during the referral process. For example,   

  • If you have an appointment in St. John’s (such as at the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre,) every effort will be made to coordinate your palliative care appointment while you are at the Centre.   
  • A virtual appointment by phone or via telehealth can be also arranged. 

I am still receiving treatment for my illness.  Can I still be referred to the palliative care consult service?  

Yes.  If you have a life-limiting illness, you can avail of palliative care services, including the consult service, even if you continue to receive treatment. 

Is there anything I can do to prepare for my first appointment with the palliative care consult service?

Yes! During your first appointment, the palliative care physician or nurse practitioner will gather important information from you.  The following checklist can be used as a guide to help you prepare:   

  • Prepare a list of questions you may have for your health-care team. 
  • If possible, arrangeto have a family member or support person at your appointment to help take notes and ask questions. 
  • Have your MCP card, or other provincial health card on hand, as well as the name of your insurance provider, if applicable.
  • Make a list of all medications you are taking, including:
    • Over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, supplements, creams, herbals and alternative medicines. 
    • If you do not have a list of prescribed medications, your community pharmacy can likely print a list for you. 
      • Please have on hand the name and phone number of your pharmacy.    
    • Make a list of all allergies and the type of reaction you have. 
  • Ensure you have the name and number of your family physician or nurse practitioner. 
  • Bring any forms that may need to be completed by your physician or member of the health-care team, i.e.: insurance, absence from work as well as forms that confirm your visit. 
  • If you have an Advanced Health-Care Directive, please ensure you have a copy available for the palliative care team.  
  • If you do not have an Advance Health-Care Directive but you do have an appointed Substitute Decision Maker, please let the palliative care team know. 

Will the palliative care physician or nurse practitioner become my primary care provider?   

No, it is important that you continue to see your primary care provider regularly.  However, the palliative care physician or nurse practitioner will work closely with your family physician or community nurse practitioner as well as other members of your health-care team.

If you do not have a primary care provider or will be without a primary care provider in the next three months, please register for a primary care provider at Patient Connect NL.

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Last updated: 2023-03-22