Research assesses palliative care knowledge among Pictou County's diverse communities

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NEW GLASGOW – Knowledge of and experiences with palliative care services in Pictou County varies significantly, based on the community in which a person lives.


This finding was part of a research project that explored the knowledge, beliefs and understandings of options and services available to individuals and families at end of life in the African Canadian, First Nations and Immigrant communities in Pictou County. 

Participants of the study shared their experiences about palliative care, and spoke of the barriers they faced – cultural, racism and financial.  They also spoke highly of the palliative care program offered in Pictou County.

“Our project is the first time research on palliative care services in rural Nova Scotia has been done.  Until now, there has been no evidence or voice,” said Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard, principle investigator and faculty member of Dalhousie University’s School of Social Work. “We hope that what we have learned will help other organizations recognize the importance of recognizing and supporting culturally diverse people.”

Pictou County Health Authority’s palliative care program is comprised of a six-bed inpatient unit located at the Aberdeen Hospital, and a community based program that supports up to 100 clients in their homes or in long term care facilities.  The Aberdeen Palliative Care Society supports the program with financial and volunteer resources.

The research project, Community Conversations: Exploring Access to Palliative Care Services in Pictou County by First Nations, African Canadian and Immigrant Communities was led by Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard.  The research team was a partnership between the Pictou County Health Authority’s Primary Health Care team and community health board members.  It was funded by the Department of Health and Wellness (Primary Health Care).

“We are grateful to the individuals who shared their experiences with end of life care,” said Duane MacInnis, vice president of health services for the Pictou County Health Authority. “This is an emotional and sensitive topic and their constructive feedback will help improve our program.”

Organizations: Pictou County Health Authority, First Nations, Primary Health Care Dalhousie University School of Social Work Aberdeen Hospital Aberdeen Palliative Care Society Care Services Department of Health and Wellness

Geographic location: Pictou County, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Beverly
    January 30, 2014 - 18:17

    The Pictou County Palliative Care Society provides care that is second to none. Dr. Andrew Farrell and his staff are superb, compassionate, caring and professional. The end of life care they and the , and volunteers, on the Fifth floor provide is priceless. Both of my parents, my father was longer, spent their last days under their care and I am so very grateful for that. This society deserves every bit of support they receive.