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Hospice Online

The scenario is not uncommon. hospice

A woman is told her husband has an advanced cancer. She is also the primary caregiver for her 85-year-old mother who is showing signs of dementia. Despite having supportive family close by, she is feeling overwhelmed and alone.

She has many questions, but there are no easy answers.

What can she expect as her husband’s cancer progresses and how can she provide him with comfort? What should she tell her grandchildren about their “Papa’s” illness? What services are available to help with her mother’s care as her needs increase? How will she cope?

Fortunately, the answers to these and other questions are now just a click away.

The Canadian Virtual Hospice at www.virtualhospice.ca is a website with information designed to help people through life’s most difficult times.

In addition to providing facts about physical symptoms associated with life-limiting illnesses, it offers information about the emotional and spiritual issues that arise as people enter the last phase of life.

Development of the fully bilingual site was led by Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov, Chair of Virtual Hospice to address the gaps in palliative care information and services across Canada. Since being established in 2004, it has provided trusted information and personalized support to hundreds of thousands of Canadians and people from over 200 other countries. It has been ranked as one of the best health websites in Canada by the Canadian Health Libraries Association and was honoured internationally with a silver award at the US-based Health and Sciences Communication Association Media Festival in 2010.

“The goal in establishing the website was straight-forward,” says Dr. Chochinov. “We wanted to provide Canadians with access to palliative care experts regardless of where they live - a place where they can ask questions and read articles about managing symptoms and other matters that arise when facing a life-limiting or chronic illness or when caring for the elderly.”

Dr. Chochinov is an internationally renowned palliative care researcher who holds the only Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care. Chochinov established the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit at CancerCare Manitoba and is also a Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manitoba.


The site has evolved to provide information to also support health care providers caring for people in the last phase of their lives.

“Caring for people at end of life can be complex. We wanted to create a place where health care providers could access tools to assist them in providing quality care for patients and families, and where researchers and clinicians could share their latest findings and best practices with others.”

Visit www.virtualhospice.ca to learn about the wealth of information provided on the website.

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