List Of Illnesses / FAQ

These illnesses include, but are not limited to, the following:


  • Cancer

  • Progressive Neurological Disorders

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

  • End-stage Cardiac, Renal, Respiratory or Hepatic Disorders

  • Motor Neurone Disease (MND)

  • Coronary Artery Disease, Hypertension, High Cholesterol, Stroke=

  • Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias

  • Tuberculosis (Pulmonary, Extra-Pulmonary, MDR TB)

  • Cirrhosis

  • Children With Chronic Disorders

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

When should you switch to hospice care for your loved one?

When your loved one’s health care team recognizes that he or she is likely within six months of dying, they may recommend switching to hospice, a more specialized care for people with a terminal illness who are expected to die. Your loved one will still get treatment for pain relief and comfort, but hospice also offers emotional and spiritual support for them as well as you and close family.


Is Palliative Care right for me?

Yes, if you:

  • Have a disease or injury that cannot be cured
  • Have made multiple trips to the emergency room in the past 6 months
  • Have pain or other symptoms that interfere with your daily activities
  • Need assistance with setting your goals of care and treatment preferences

Is Palliative Care available for children?

Yes! Palliative Care services are available for children

Where do I go to receive Palliative Care services?

While you are in the hospital, your primary physician can help you determine if Palliative Care is right for you. If so, the Palliative Care team at Hospice Wits will become a part of your health care team.

Can I receive Palliative Care outside the hospital after I am discharged?

After discharge, Palliative Care services may be available to you through outpatient physicians and other health care institutions

Will I have a new doctor if I use Palliative Care?

Most Palliative Care services, including the service at Hospice Wits, follow a consultation model. This means that the Palliative Care team will work with you and your health care team to develop a plan of care that meets your needs.

Are Palliative Care services covered by medical aid?

Yes, Palliative Care is covered by most medical aids, For more information, please ask your service provider.

Does receiving Palliative Care mean that I am dying or giving up?

No! Palliative Care began in the 1980s under the premise that all patients with chronic diseases should receive proper symptom management regardless of the stage of their disease.

Does receiving Palliative Care mean that I will die sooner?

No! Studies have shown that patients with appropriate pain and symptom management often live longer and enjoy a better quality of life than those without.

Can I still pursue active treatment of my disease (i.e. hemodialysis, chemotherapy, radiation) if I do Palliative Care?

Absolutely, Palliative Care will follow you through all stages of your disease and treatment, and is most beneficial when started early in your disease process.

What kinds of symptoms does the Palliative Care team treat?

Other than pain, the Palliative Care team may treat symptoms including:

  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Anorexia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hiccups
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression, hopelessness, and isolation
  • Anticipatory grief and bereavement
  • Any other symptoms arising from your disease or treatment

What if I have side effects from my medication?

Most side effects from pain medications, including drowsiness and dizziness will subside after 1 to 2 days. If side effects persist or are extremely bothersome, your Palliative Care team can make adjustments to your medications as needed.

Will I become addicted to pain medication?

  • Addiction is compulsive drug use despite harmful consequences and is characterized by an inability to stop using a drug, failure to meet obligations, and sometimes tolerance and withdrawal.
  • Patients who take medications for the purpose of pain control very rarely become addicted. However, patients may develop tolerance to medications and require more to achieve a certain effect. This is different than addiction, and is an expected response to the medication.
  • Pseudoaddiction is a collection of behaviors that resemble addiction or “drug seeking” behaviors. However, in pseudoaddiction these behaviors occur because of unrelieved pain, and they disappear when pain is effectively managed.

What happens after my loved one dies?

The Palliative Care team will offer bereavement support

To view all the common myths regarding palliative care and life-limiting illness, click here to download the PDF

MYTH: Palliative care hastens death.

Fact: Palliative care does not hasten death. It provides comfort and the best quality of life from diagnosis of an advanced illness until end of life.

MYTH: Palliative care is only for people dying of cancer.

Fact: Palliative care can benefit patients and their families from the time of diagnosis of any illness that may shorten life.

MYTH: People in palliative care who stop eating die of starvation.

Fact: People with advanced illnesses don’t experience hunger or thirst as healthy people do. People who stop eating die of their illness, not starvation.

MYTH: Palliative care is only provided in a hospital.

Fact: Palliative care can be provided wherever the patient lives – home, long-term care facility, hospice or hospital.

MYTH: We need to protect children from being exposed to death and dying.

Fact: Allowing children to talk about death and dying can help them develop healthy attitudes that can benefit them as adults. Like adults, children also need time to say goodbye to people who are important to them.

MYTH: Pain is a part of dying.

Fact: Pain is not always a part of dying. If pain is experienced near end of life, there are many ways it can be alleviated.

MYTH: Taking pain medications in palliative care leads to addiction.

Fact: Keeping people comfortable often requires increased doses of pain medication. This is a result of tolerance to medication as the body adjusts, not addiction.

MYTH: Morphine is administered to hasten death.

Fact: Appropriate doses of morphine keep patients comfortable but do not hasten death

MYTH: Palliative care means my doctor has given up and there is no hope for me.

Fact: Palliative care ensures the best quality of life for those who have been diagnosed with an advanced illness. Hope becomes less about cure and more about living life as fully as possible.

MYTH: I’ve let my family member down because he/she didn’t die at home.

Fact: Sometimes the needs of the patient exceed what can be provided at home despite best efforts. Ensuring that the best care is delivered, regardless of setting, is not a failure.