For many people experiencing cancer, living well and living long are both important. For people with advanced cancer, comfort and peace of mind take on even more importance.

The most trusted online resource for Canadians at this stage of the cancer journey is Virtual Hospice – www.virtualhospice.ca.

Unlike a hospice made of bricks and mortar that provides comfort care, the Canadian Virtual Hospice serves the information and support needs of people from the time of diagnosis with a life-limiting or chronic progressive illness, and the needs of those caring for the elderly. Consistent with a palliative approach to care, the goal of Virtual Hospice is to support physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs and maximize functioning for the best quality of life.

With a few clicks of the mouse, this award-winning website provides an enormous range of reliable information about the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of life-limiting illness, loss and grief.

Whether you are dealing with advanced cancer yourself, providing care or facing the possible loss of a loved one, Virtual Hospice can help you:

  • understand what to expect as different types of illness progress
  • deal with physical symptoms and emotional challenges
  • find resources and programs in your area
  • ask the right questions of health care providers
  • discuss difficult issues with children and family members
  • find or provide quality palliative care

The content is compiled and updated regularly by a clinical team with decades of experience in palliative care, so you can be confident that the information is current and credible.

Through a feature called Ask a Professional, Virtual Hospice offers the opportunity to send personal questions to a team of experts and receive a personal, confidential response in three business days. Virtual Hospice has answered more than 1,200 individual questions through this service.

“Many people prefer to seek answers anonymously, by way of a website,” says Dr. Mike Harlos, who heads the Virtual Hospice clinical team. “It allows them to ask questions that may be difficult to say out loud, and to express feelings that may be tough to talk about face to face, even with the closest confidant.”

Commonly asked questions are then rewritten with all identifying information removed, and posted in the Asked and Answered section of the website.

Soon the website will also add an audio-video gallery, which will feature interviews with experts in the field, patient and family stories, demonstrations of basic care-giving techniques and resources from leading organizations.

Visit www.virtualhospice.ca to see the full range of information and personalized support provided.

Article taken from Wellspring’s CancerSmart, published March 2011