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February 25, 2009

Website Helps Canadians Face End-of-Life

"My elderly father was terminally ill but he didn't understand what was wrong with him . . . he would get depressed . . . I was searching for answers to try and help him . . . " - Christine, caregiver

Supporting someone's terminal illness can be one of the most significant experiences of our lives, providing both challenges and some of life's most meaningful moments. During this complex time, many Canadians simply don't know where to turn for help.

"Canadians need to know there's a place where they can turn for support and information when a loved one is seriously ill, no matter where they live," says Shelly Cory, Executive Director of the Canadian Virtual Hospice. "Canadian Virtual Hospice is unique because it provides practical information and support to patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals twenty-four hours a day."

With funding from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Health Canada and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the Canadian Virtual Hospice recently launched an updated and expanded version of its website at www.virtualhospice.ca.

One valuable resource on the website is Ask a Professional, which allows visitors to ask questions online to a team of experts in end of life care and receive a detailed, confidential response. The team includes physicians, nurses, a social worker and a spiritual care adviser

Physical, emotional, spiritual and financial issues are explored in detail in the Topics and Asked and Answered sections, with subjects ranging from managing symptoms, to providing care, to making difficult decisions, to communicating with family members and dealing with loss.

More information as well as local palliative care resources in your area can be found at www.virtualhospice.ca.

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