Chapter 1: Understanding the work
Providing care at the end of life
Paramedicine has evolved and expanded over the past 30 years from:
- A “scoop and run” emergency transport service, to also
- Providing complex care on scene, to also
- Delivering palliative care to people in their homes.
While paramedics are experienced in caring for people dying as a result of catastrophic events, such as accidents, medical events, and injuries, this new involvement in palliative care brings unique challenges and opportunities to their professional practice.
What is palliative care?
Palliative care refers to care provided to someone with an illness or condition that will shorten their life and ultimately result in their death. It's person- and family-centred, addressing the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of both the individual with life-limiting illness and their family. It can be provided from the time of diagnosis through to death and includes bereavement support for friends and family. Unlike other areas of health care that focus on a specific body part, this care is focused on the “whole person” and their family as a unit.
See also:10 Myths about palliative care infographic.