Glossary of Terms

Terms we use

  • Acute Care

    Medical care administered usually in a hospital or by health care professionals for the treatment of a serious injury or illness. At Victoria Hospice, seven of our 17 palliative care In-Patient Unit beds are designated as acute care beds. The goal for admission to an acute care bed is to provide active symptom management, or treatment that cannot be provided in the ill person’s home.

  • Advance Care Planning

    The process of planning in advance for your personal and financial care if one is unable to make decisions on their own behalf.

  • Advance Directive

    A set of instructions completed ahead of time for your family and/or care providers to use if you are ill or injured and unable to speak or make decisions about the medical treatment you want to receive. Sometimes also known as a ‘living will’.

  • Anticipatory Grief

    The deep emotional distress that can occur when someone has a chronic illness and death is expected. Anticipatory grief can feel just as painful as grief felt at the time of the actual death of the person.

  • Bereavement

    The state of having lost someone or something precious to you. The usual emotional reaction to bereavement is known as grief. Some people use the word mourning interchangeably with the word grief; others consider that mourning refers more to the social or cultural expressions of grief (for example, in some cultures, widows in mourning wear black after the death of their spouses). “Grieving is the act of affirming or reconstructing a personal world of meaning that has been challenged by loss.” Dawn Hill, Penticton & District Palliative Care Program.

  • Compassionate Care Employment Insurance Benefits

    May be paid up to a maximum of six weeks to a person who has to be absent from work to provide care or support to a gravely ill family member at risk of dying within 26 weeks. Unemployed persons receiving Employment Insurance can also apply for these benefits. This benefit can be shared between caregivers.

  • Community Health Workers

    Sometimes known as Home Support workers, they provide personal assistance at home with things like medications, bathing, dressing and caregiver support. The client and Home Care professional decide together how much and what type of help is required. The client’s care plan is reviewed on a regular basis. As needs change, services in the home may be adjusted.

  • Grief

    See also Bereavement.

  • Holistic Care

    The treatment of the whole person, not just the clinical symptoms of a disease, including emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual and physical care for both patients and their loved ones.

  • Home & Community Care

    A range of supportive services provided in your home. Home & Community Care (H&CC) nurses work closely with Victoria Hospice, and are usually the ones who first register people for our program of care when appropriate. Other H&CC services for eligible clients are delivered by teams of health care professionals in a variety of settings, and may include:

    • Nursing
    • Physiotherapy and occupational therapy
    • Nutrition
    • Social work
    • Case management
    • Home support
    • End-of-life care
    • Adult day programs
    • Community clinics
    • Assisted living
    • Access to residential care facilities
    • Short-term residential care for caregiver relief
    • Hospice care
    • Home Support:
    • See also Community Health Workers.
  • Hospice Care

    Palliative or ‘comfort care’ for life-limiting illness rather than curative treatments. It involves professional medical care, advanced pain and symptom management, and emotional, spiritual and practical support based on the patient’s wishes and family’s needs. In Canada, the terms ‘palliative care’ and ‘hospice care’ are often used interchangeably. The word ‘hospice’ is sometimes used to refer to a home-like place where people spend the last days or weeks of life.

  • Long Term Care

    See also Residential Care.

  • Long Term Care Facility

    A facility that is licensed by the province of British Columbia, also known as a nursing home or residential care facility. See also Residential Care.

  • Occupational Therapist

    A rehabilitation professional who assists people to learn skills and techniques needed to perform activities of daily living.

  • Oncologist

    A doctor who specializes in the treatment of people diagnosed with cancer. A radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation therapy; a medical oncologist specializes in treating cancer with drugs.

  • Palliative Care Benefits Program

    The BC Palliative Care Benefits Program supports people of any age who have reached the end stage of a life-threatening disease or illness and who wish to receive palliative care at home. Under this program, eligible patients receive coverage of palliative care medications, medical supplies and equipment. Benefits under this program continue for as long as the person is diagnosed as requiring palliative care.

  • Palliative Care

    A term often used interchangeably with ‘hospice care’ in Canada. Both terms refer to a compassionate approach that includes medical, emotional, spiritual, and social care that aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families who are facing advanced illness, death and bereavement. The word ‘palliative’ comes from the Latin ‘to cloak or to cover’. Palliative care can be delivered in a person’s own home, a hospice, a hospital palliative care unit, or residential care facility.

  • Physiotherapist

    A rehabilitation professional who assists individuals in maximizing mobility and restoring strength and body movement.

  • Power of Attorney

    A legal document that appoints another person to make financial and legal decisions for you.

  • Residential Care

    Sometimes known as long term or extended care, these facilities provide 24-hour professional care and supervision for people who have complex health needs. Staff members administer medications and assist residents with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. Nine of the 17 palliative care In-Patient Unit beds at Victoria Hospice are designated as residential or long-term care beds. Our respite bed, used for patients who need to be admitted to our In-Patient Unit for symptom control or to give caregivers at home a break for a one-week stay, is also designated as a long-term care bed. As with all other long-term beds in the Vancouver Island Health Authority, there is a charge for these beds, the rate determined by the patient’s Case Manager.

  • Respite

    A break, a sense of relief that contributes to an overall sense of well-being. At Victoria Hospice, one of the 17 beds in our In-Patient Unit is designated as a respite bed to give at-home caregivers a one-week break, or to help manage pain or other distressing symptoms for our registered patients.