Virtual support

Virtual support

July 7, 2010

Every day, more than 1,000 people from 154 countries visit the Canadian Virtual Hospice, searching for support in dealing with a terminally ill patient. Launched in 2004 by University of Manitoba psychiatry professor Harvey Max Chochinov, the site now offers a free video gallery for patients, their doctors and caregivers.

Executive director Shelly Cory says the first series of 40 short videos covers best practices, newest thinking and latest research through interviews with 19 leaders in palliative care. Next up is a series for caregivers, demonstrating practical tasks, such as giving medications and changing a bed with a patient in it. 

The website’s Ask a Professional service, through which Canadians receive personal responses from palliative-care specialists, has already fielded 1,100 questions, approximately 40 percent of those from health-care providers.

It’s clear that the site is having a tangible impact on end-of-life care in Canada, says Cory. “The lament we get from users is that they didn’t know about it sooner.”