Supreme Court rules consent required before ending care

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal by doctors at a Toronto hospital who sought to withdraw treatment from Hassan Rasouli, a severely brain-damaged patient who they say has no hope of recovery. Mr. Rasouli has been in a persistent vegetative state and ventilator dependent since October 2010. After an extensive internal review and discussion with the family, the hospital made the decision that CPR and intensive life support was not the standard of care for patients with this diagnosis, as no prolonged medical Continue reading →

Dr. Larry Librach shares his thoughts about life and death on "W5"

“People want to be at home, to have a choice in the setting where they’re going to die,” our friend and colleague Dr. Larry Librach told W5 in an interview that aired this weekend. “They want to have some independence around decision making. And I think we want to be free of pain and symptoms as much as possible.” Larry Librach chose to share his final weeks and days with W5. Click the link above to watch the interview, in which Dr. Librach shared his Continue reading →

British Columbia Court of Appeal upholds ban on assisted suicide

In a split two-to-one decision yesterday, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled to uphold Canada’s ban on physician-assisted suicide. The federal government had previously appealed the landmark ruling of Carter v. Canada, which stated that voluntary euthanasia should be allowed under strict conditions. The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled last year that prohibiting assisted suicide violated the Charter rights of gravely ill Canadians. “These are complex issues that involve real people and real emotional situations,” said Hugh Scher, the legal counsel for the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. Continue reading →

Let’s talk about dying in Canada

What will I want or need at the end of life? Will I suffer pain and need medication to manage my symptoms? How can I let my family and friends know my wishes and preferences for end-of-life care? What help is available to me? Will I suffer from a chronic illness and feel like a burden to others? What decisions will I have to make? Many Canadians find themselves asking these questions as they near end-of-life. They are unsure what to expect, leading them to ask how they want to Continue reading →

Ask your town or city council to call for greater hospice palliative care!

Three weeks ago, we announced that the Peel Regional Council had passed a resolution highlighting the need for additional resources for palliative care within their communities. We are grateful for the council’s acknowledgement of the role of the hospice palliative care sector in providing access to the services Ontarians need, and of the work done with the provincial government by HPCO and the QHPCCO to inform policy and best practices. We hope you will join us in thanking the council, who called for more funding an support required to advance hospice palliative Continue reading →

Free resources for family caregivers

This is a reminder that Hospice Palliative Care Ontario is proud to provide family caregivers with complementary copies of two valuable resources: A Caregiver’s Guide, produced by the Order of St. Lazarus, and A Guide to Advance Care Planning, which is available through the Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat. You can request single copies of either/both of these guides by contacting Helen Reilly at Shipping is free of charge within Canada. If you wish to order multiple copies, please contact the organizations listed above. If you Continue reading →

Are you eligible for Compassionate Care Benefits?

Are you currently providing care to someone who is gravely ill? If so, you may be eligible for Compassionate Care Benefits through the Government of Canada. “One of the most difficult times for anyone is when a loved one is dying or at risk of death. The demands of caring for a gravely ill family member can jeopardize both your job and the financial security of your family. The Government of Canada believes that, during such times, you should not have to choose between keeping Continue reading →

Advance care planning is about understanding how you want to live your life

Rocco Gerace, the Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, has written an inspiring and informative opinion piece about advance care planning. Rather than think about it as simply a plan for death, Gerace argues that the process is all about planning for a good life – and that approaching it in this way can help us confront a difficult conversation. “It’s not always easy,” Gerace writes, “but taking the time to reflect on and discuss these issues can lead to better Continue reading →