NS Cancer Services
NS Cancer Services


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Supportive Care

Over the last five years Cancer Care Nova Scotia (CCNS) has remained committed to its primary areas of focus – among them – palliative and supportive care.

Cancer imposes a heavy burden on Nova Scotians and palliative and supportive care is an essential component of a high-quality cancer program. Reports indicate that only 30 per cent of patients who are diagnosed and die from cancer access palliative care programs, yet 80-90 per cent of those registered with palliative care have cancer-related illnesses. This gap is partly due to a lack of supportive care services that are readily available to cancer patients and their families across the province. There is also a lack of public awareness about palliative care services, and a lack of core health professional education in pain and symptom management.
Cancer Care Nova Scotia and others at the provincial and national level have identified the need for the development of integrated palliative and supportive care services in health districts throughout Nova Scotia.

CCNS continues to work with others toward: 

  • Implementing palliative and supportive care as a core service of the Department of Health and Wellness, which would require every district to meet defined standards and have a core Palliative care team. 
  • Implementing the key findings from the Kirby and Romanov Reports in the area of enhanced entitlements for cancer patients at home. 
  • Implementing support groups in every district across the province.

CCNS’ Coordinator of Palliative and Supportive Care is taking steps to achieve these goals by:

  • working with the Department of Health and Wellness as a member of the Palliative Care Project Steering Committee;
  • developing and implementing a provincial Hospice Palliative Care Volunteer Program;
  • developing and implementing Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Front-Line Education in health districts throughout Nova Scotia, and;
  • continuing to work at the national level. 
  • Recently, Hospice Palliative Care standards, competencies and a certification examination have been developed for registered nurses in Canada.

To read more about palliative care, read Palliative Care Explained or see the Nova Scotia Hospice Palliative Care Directory
Click here for more online information about hospice palliative care, and nursing standards in Canada.