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Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Who should be seen by Palliative Care Services?
Anyone living with a life-limiting illness or condition could be referred to Palliative Care Services. Life-limiting illness include diagnosis that will shorten life expectancy.
2.  What services are provided by Palliative Care Services?
Services include: assessment of symptoms and recommendations regarding pain management to help improve quality of life, and assistance with comfort care at end-of-life. The palliative care team can make recommendations for pain and symptom management.  They can also pre-approve patients to be admitted to the Palliative Care Unit (PCU) at the Dr. L. A. Miller Centre. For more information, see Services.
3. Are Palliative Care Services suitable for individuals who are receiving treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, or any other invasive procedure?
Yes, Palliative Care Services are available to patients receiving invasive treatments. A member of the team can assess the patient and make recommendations for pain management. Please contact 709-777-7303 or 1-855-690-7303 for more information. 
4. How are referrals made to Palliative Care Services?
A family physician, specialist, or a nurse practitioner can complete a referral form and fax it to the palliative care nurse navigator at 709-777-8970.
5. What happens after the referral is received?
Each referral is received and triaged by the palliative care nurse navigator. Patients are then contacted and an appointment with the palliative care physician or nurse practitioner is scheduled.  
6. What happens after the initial appointment?
After the initial appointment, a follow-up appointment may be booked for the patient as deemed necessary by the palliative care physician or nurse practitioner. The patient’s family physician will continue to provide ongoing care. A copy of the palliative care consultation will be sent to the family physician.
7. Where are patients with a life-limiting illness seen?
Patients may be seen in the outpatient clinics of the following St. John’s hospitals:
Patients who are too unwell to visit a clinic may be seen at home. House visits are restricted to the northeast Avalon Peninsula*. To inquire about specific locations, please contact the nurse navigator at 709-777-7303 or toll-free at 1-855-690-7303.
8. Once seen, is the palliative care physician or nurse practitioner the main care provider?
No, palliative care will work in consultation with community health providers and the patient’s family doctor. The family doctor will continue to provide ongoing care.
9. When can patients be admitted to the palliative care inpatient unit?
Once pre-approved, patients may be admitted at any time for symptom management with a plan to discharge home or care at end-of-life. 
10. What does pre-approval mean?
Pre-approval means that a patient and his/her family understands the type of care provided in the Palliative Care Unit, and has agreed that it is appropriate. The patient can call the Palliative Care Unit at 709-777-8610 when they are ready to be admitted. Length of wait for admission depends on bed availability. A doctor does not need to see the patient again.  
11. Who do you call if you have a question regarding Palliative Care Services?  
The palliative care nurse navigator is the first line of contact at 709-777-7303 or toll-free at 1-855-690-7303. For more contact information, please visit our Contact Information page. 

*The northeastern Avalon Peninsula comprises the following boundaries: the greater St. John’s region, west as far as Seal Cove, east as far as Pouch Cove, and south as far as Bay Bulls.


Updated Oct 4, 2017