Receiving palliative care

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Any person in the advanced or terminal phase of a serious and incurable disease may receive palliative care, which includes treatment of pain and mental suffering.

In situations where a cure is not possible, palliative care seeks to maintain or improve the quality of life of the terminally ill person, and to provide support for those close to them.

This care is provided with respect for the dignity of the person and their choices, in a continuous and coordinated manner, by a multidisciplinary team of various health professionals.

Palliative care may be provided at a hospital, at an institution that has been approved pursuant to health insurance and long-term care insurance laws, or at home.

Who is concerned?

Palliative care is available to anyone in an advanced or terminal phase of a serious and incurable disease, regardless of the cause.

How to proceed

Eligibility for palliative care

A person becomes eligible for palliative care upon submission of a declaration, by the treating physician using a special form, to the Social Security Medical Board (Contrôle médical de la sécurité sociale).

If the right to palliative care is granted, the dying person may receive it for 35 days. Exceptionally, this period may be renewed for one or more additional 35-day periods, at the substantiated request of the treating physician.

Coverage of palliative care

When palliative care is granted or extended, the National Health Fund (Caisse nationale de santé), after having received a favourable opinion from the Social Security Medical Board, establishes a statement of coverage which is sent to the treating physician or to the network institution caring for the patient. The patient is likewise informed.

The National Health Fund covers all services provided to the dying person, as well as various services which depend on the location where the care is being provided:

  • at the hospital: a dying person is entitled to coverage of 'palliative care' hospitalisation days, i.e., a higher level of coverage than 'normal' hospitalisation days;
  • at home or at a healthcare facility: the dying person is entitled to all long-term care insurance benefits, in other words, the following, as needed:
    • basic everyday activities (38.5 hours per week);
    • domestic tasks (4 hours per week);
    • 14 hours per week of individual or group support (night nursing service, care from a psychologist or occupational therapist).
    • counselling for the patient and those close to them;
    • technical assistance;
    • products needed to provide assistance and care.

Consistent and continuous care

To ensure proper coordination of care, the dying person receives a care booklet in which the various health professionals attending to the patient record the supplies, services and care provided.

Online services and forms

Who to contact

National Health Fund (CNS)

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