Dr. Gary Rodin

Leading the way in Palliative and Supportive Care

Dr. Gary Rodin
For so many of the patients and supporters of The Princess Margaret, palliative care is a high priority and an area they want to see expanded. Palliative care refers not only to end of life care, but to all the services involving pain and symptom control, psychological well-being and social support of cancer patients and their families.
The psychological impact of a life-threatening cancer diagnosis can be devastating, and the hospital has responded by developing a wide range of services for palliative and supportive care. We have a large multidisciplinary palliative care team, daily out-patient palliative care clinics, a palliative care consultation service, and a 10-bed inpatient palliative care unit. We have also joined with a community partner, the Kensington Health Centre, to build a 10-bed residential hospice for end of life care nearby the hospital. Psychosocial services include individual, family and group counseling, chaplaincy services, and a Web site called Caringtotheend.ca, where information and experience are shared with other cancer centres and their patients.
Dr. Gary Rodin, head of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, is proud that this hospital, thanks in large part to foundation donors, is able to “influence cancer care in the world”.

Research is vital to this area of care, as it is to all areas of the hospital, and clinical trials are being performed to study the impact of early palliative care and psychosocial interventions and to understand how best to help cancer patients suffering from depression, memory loss (‘chemobrain’), fatigue and chronic pain.
The Al Hertz Centre for Supportive and Palliative Care, which will be established in the fall of 2009, illustrates the importance that The Princess Margaret places on providing patients and their families with a supportive environment that helps preserve their emotional well being, as they live with cancer. The staff involved in setting up the Centre understand that palliative care is as much about supporting the family and caregivers as it is about supporting patients, and the programs and resources being developed in the Centre reflect this.
In support of the local community, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is partnering with Kensington Health Centre to establish a world-class hospice that will provide end-of-life care for central Toronto residents. Kensington Health Centre’s historic chapel is being converted to a state-of-the-art hospice home, and The Princess Margaret’s palliative care team will:
  • Work with the Kensington healthcare team in applying the palliative care model developed at the hospital to the resident hospice setting
  • Share information regarding comfort measures (pain management and bereavement counseling)
  • Implement multidisciplinary education and establish a collaborative clinical research program
  • Establish e-Health processes for sharing treatment plans and patient-related information
Brian McFarlane, President and CEO of the Kensington Health Centre, is delighted that his team will be working side by side with “internationally-renowned experts in the field of palliative care, education and research.”