Catholic Teaching on Palliative Care

As citizens, we see all levels of government, abetted by regulatory bodies and the media, give priority to those who want to choose euthanasia and assisted suicide while providing minimal funding and support for palliative care, home care and hospices.

Canadian Bishops

Palliative Care: Diocese of Peterborough

The World Health Organization defines palliative care as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.” The intention of palliative care is neither to hasten nor delay death and acknowledges that dying is a normal process. more

Palliative Care: Diocese of Hamilton

Palliative care seeks to provide the best possible quality of life for people who have a serious or life-threatening illness or disease. Palliative care views the patient as the main concern during care, treating the whole person, instead of focussing exclusively on the medical issue they are dealing with at the time of need. The entire goal of palliative care is to provide the best quality of life for the individual. The Diocese of Hamilton, understanding the challenges for both patient and family during a time of need, brought together a committee of experts to gather the following information to assist you navigate the various needs you may have at this time. more

Palliative Care: Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

As a comprehensive approach to end-of-life challenges, palliative care combines pain management with efforts to attend to a patient’s psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. Palliative care also attends to the practical, emotional, and pastoral needs of caregivers, both professional and patient-identified, to ensure they receive proper support as they journey with the patient through his or her illness as well as after the patient’s death. more

Pastoral Care of the Sick, Frail and Dying: Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Bishops are inspired by the Gospel as well as by human concern to imitate the Good Samaritan, caring for every suffering person with great mercy and compassion. As supporters of heath care institutions and the spiritual care of the sick, frail, and dying within their dioceses/eparchies, Bishops bring into clearer focus for every person the image of Jesus, healer of body and soul. They are charged in a special way to defend human life in the areas of biogenetic engineering; to promote palliative care and to oppose euthanasia; to support expectant mothers and new life and to oppose abortion; to ensure access to the sacrament of the anointing of the sick and Viaticum, without neglecting the sacrament of penance; to support the witness of consecrated persons, professionals and volunteers who devote their lives to health care; and to instruct priests, deacons and pastoral workers to be spiritually attentive to those parishioners who are suffering in body and mind. more

Care for the Elderly Dr. Moira McQueen

This article is not so much about the understanding or lack of it that gives us permission to end someone’s life, even assuming legalization (which, morally, by itself does not justify anything) and even if the person requests it as death approaches. The very name Care, Not Killing, however, speaks to another approach to dying, death and suffering: it says YES to accompaniment of the dying person, YES to human acceptance and support and YES to encouragement of living one’s last days as well as possible. And this IS possible. Good pain medication and hospice or palliative care, whether at home or in a facility, can make an enormous difference in relieving possible pain and suffering at end of life and also in reassuring the family and friends accompanying the person. more See other articles from the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute

Palliative Care Kit: Catholic Women’s League

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, members will have to adjust the way they live and how they continue to participate in various activities. Canadians are asked to keep a physical distance between one another; therefore, any large gatherings are not permitted. Parish councils may still choose one day during the first week of May to participate in “12 Hours of Prayer for Palliative Care.” It is suggested that parish councils participate by organizing an at-home prayer service. … In this package of information, there is a message of support from National President Anne-Marie Gorman, along with a sample “at-home” one hour prayer service, prayers, resources and links that may be helpful in planning a day of prayer. A new resource this year is a palliative care postcard that may be used when activities resume. more

Pallium Canada

Pallium is a national, non-profit organization focused on building professional and community capacity to help improve the quality and accessibility of palliative care in Canada. We are a community of clinicians, educators, researchers, carers, administrators, volunteers, Aboriginal leaders and citizen advocates working together to accelerate the integration of palliative care in Canadian communities and health care systems. Pallium was founded in Canada, by Canadians and in service to Canadian health care professionals, patients and families, and communities. more

Vanier Institute

The Vanier Institute of the Family is a national, independent, charitable organization dedicated to understanding the diversity and complexity of families and the reality of family life in Canada. Through publications, research initiatives, presentations and social media, the Institute works to enhance the national understanding of how families interact with, have an impact on and are affected by social, economic, environmental and cultural forces. The Vanier Institute is an evidence-based teaching and learning organization. We are a national resource for anyone interested in or involved with families in Canada. Through our publications, presentations and Web resources, we provide a wealth of information about families and family life, family experiences, expectations and aspirations. Search for palliative care on their website

Pathways to Convergence (United States, 2017)

The primary purpose of this document is to serve as a record for a dialog that was borne out of the conviction that a clearer presentation of Catholic understanding regarding palliative care and end of life decision-making was possible. Respect and openness characterized this process. This document, authored by the steering group, seeks to re-present, as accurately and faithfully as possible, the primary themes and discussion points that arose through the process. Each sub-section captures a general theme of conversation while the numbered paragraphs elucidate points of discussion and insight on particular elements within that general theme, where participants noticed either a convergence or divergence of opinion. more

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