Frequently asked questions

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, contact us and we’ll be happy to help you.


What is palliative care?

Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of people living with an incurable illness in the progressive or terminal phase. The palliative care approach supports life and considers death a natural part of life. It aims to relieve physical, psychological, and spiritual suffering, and to improve the quality of life of patients as well as that of their loved ones. The objective is to offer a path towards an end of life with compassion and humanity, while respecting the needs and limits of every person.

What is a palliative day centre?

A palliative day centre is an establishment that offers early palliative care to those suffering from an incurable illness in the progressive phase, as well as to caregivers and bereaved individuals. Day centres offer a range of psychosocial, therapeutic, and recreational care and services, as well as respite, in a welcoming environment. The care and support provided to ill individuals and their loved ones by a day centre much earlier in the trajectory of the illness can help improve the quality of life and encourage home care. This approach has already proven effective elsewhere in the world. Although there are several day centres in the province of Quebec, we are the first one on the island of Montreal.


At what point can a patient be admitted to St. Raphael’s palliative care home?

A patient could be admitted if his or her clinical condition indicates that the end of life could be near and if a doctor has established a prognosis of fewer than three months.

Who can be admitted to St. Raphael’s care home ? How are patients selected?

The 12 beds of the palliative care home are registered with the health and social services network. When a patient needs to be admitted to palliative care and if he or she wishes to be admitted to a palliative care home, his or her treating team will begin the process of finding an available bed. Requests for admission to St. Raphael’s are analyzed and prioritized by an admissions committee based to the physical and psychosocial needs of the patient and caregivers.

What are the criteria for a patient to be admitted to St. Raphael’s care home?
  • The patient or their primary loved one or caregiver must reside in Montreal.
  • He or she must have a life expectancy of less than three months.
  • He or she must be at least 18 years old.
  • He or she must have a documented, progressive, life-limiting, and incurable illness.
  • He or she must no longer be receiving any systemic treatment requiring monitoring.
  • He or she must be ready to accept the care of the team at St. Raphael’s, which aims to provide comfort rather than extend life.
What are the criteria for a guest to attend the day centre?
  • For people living with incurable illness:
    • The guest must be at least 18 years old.
    • He or she must have been diagnosed with an incurable illness limiting life expectancy.
    • He or she must reside in Montreal or his or her caregiver must reside on the territory.
    • He or she must be living at home.


    For caregivers and the bereaved:

    • He or she must be a relative of a person who has been diagnosed with an incurable illness limiting life expectancy (no age restriction).
    • He or she must reside in Montreal or be a relative of a person who has been diagnosed with an incurable illness limiting the life expectancy and who resides in Montreal.
Can my terminally ill relative be admitted if I donate?

We are deeply grateful for the support we receive for St. Raphael’s. However, it is not possible to manage admission to the care home or to the day centre based on the donations received.

Will a guest who frequently visits the day centre be automatically admitted to the care home when the time comes?

Patients are admitted based on their physical and psychosocial needs. The fact that we get to know the guests of the day centre could allow us to assess their eligibility sooner than not but does not guarantee a bed in the care home.

Cost and fundraising

Are services offered for free?

Yes, all services offered at St. Raphael’s are free except for the meals available for care home visitors, medication and personal hygiene products, as well as some medical equipment. This is made possible through the support of St. Raphael’s donors and government grants.

Why does St. Raphael’s need to raise money for services that are offered for free by the healthcare system? Aren’t those services paid for by the Quebec Government?

Palliative care is indeed part of the health care paid for by the government. However, there is a shortage of palliative care beds in Quebec. If we want to offer palliative care services free of charge to the Montreal community, these must be financed mainly through donations. The Government of Quebec does not finance the construction of private health establishments, but it does provide subsidies for part of the operating costs of palliative care homes and day centres as well as tax credits for donations.

Are palliative care homes part of the Quebec healthcare system?

Palliative care homes are independent, not-for-profit organizations. They are governed and approved by the Quebec Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux through the local CIUSSS (integrated university health and social services centres) with which they have contractual agreements. St. Raphael’s has a contractual agreement with the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal.

How does St. Raphael’s finance its operating costs?

About 45% of the operating costs of the 12 palliative care beds and the day centre are funded by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux. The rest of the funds needed to operate the home and day centre come from donations from individuals, businesses, and foundations, through annual campaigns and other fundraising efforts.

Who are the donors?

Please consult our annual reports via this page for a complete list of our donors. We are grateful to have the support of several major organizations and philanthropists. We always need donations from members of our community as well as from businesses, financial institutions, and private foundations.

Services, access and duration

What are the territories served by St. Raphael’s?

St. Raphael’s serves the Montreal area and its surroundings.

What are the visiting hours?

Visits are allowed at any time. However, visits between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. must be announced to the care team. Occasionally, some restrictions may be added based on public health guidelines. We ask visitors to behave respectfully in our living environment.

Can patients and guests smoke on the premises?

Our organization offers a smoke-free living environment. However, a patient or visitor may smoke outside, while maintaining a safe distance of at least 9 metres from the establishment. If a patient is unable to go outside on his or her own, the treating team or a volunteer may accompany him or her outside, within the limits of our availability.

What types of services and care does St. Raphael’s offer?

At the day centre and at the care home:

Professional services:

  • Spiritual support
  • Acupuncture
  • Art therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Doctors and nurses at the care home
  • Music therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Social work


Other care and services:

  • Beauty care (hairdressing)
  • Therapeutic baths
  • Meals (on site or take-out)
  • Zootherapy


Activities of the day centre (these can be modified according to the seasonal programming):

  • Support groups
  • Creative journaling
  • Meditative walk
  • Yoga
  • Virtual reality
  • Conferences
  • Training
  • Thematic discussions
Can loved ones and caregivers stay with the patient admitted at St. Raphael’s?

Yes, loved ones can stay with the patient during their stay at St. Raphael’s for as long as they wish. A bedroom and a bed as well as a full bathroom can be made available to them free of charge.

Are services at the day centre offered only to patients, or to loved ones and caregivers as well?

The day centre offers care and services to patients admitted to the care home, and to those over the age of 18 living at home with an incurable and progressive illness, to their loved ones and caregivers, as well as to the bereaved of all ages (children are welcome).

Can children come to St. Raphael’s?

Children are always welcome as visitors at St. Raphael’s, and we will always ensure we provide them with a safe and healthy environment. If a child is a loved one or a bereaved, he or she may benefit from free services at the day centre. At the care home, patients must be 18 years or older to receive palliative care.

Can we bring a pet?

Pets are welcome on the condition that their care is provided by you or your loved ones and that everyone’s safety and tranquility are respected.

How can we access the services and activities offered at the day centre?

You do not need a referral from a healthcare professional to access the day centre. All you have to do is contact us and we will be happy to meet with you to assess your needs and, if necessary, give you access to personalized care and services. Please visit this page to view the schedule of our activities. Please see this page to register.

Are religious rites or services offered to patients at St. Raphael’s?

Although St. Raphael’s is a non-denominational establishment, we ensure that the wishes of patients and their loved ones are respected, including their desire to observe traditions or religious rites. The team will help arrange these services. Non-denominational professional spiritual accompaniment is also available for everyone on request.

What is the average stay of a patient in a palliative care home?

At the palliative care home, although the prognosis of admitted patients is less than three months, the average stay of a patient is about 20 days.

Is there a complaints process in place?

Since St. Raphael’s aims to provide safe, quality services in a warm, welcoming environment and to continually improve its palliative care, our complaint policy ensures respectful, fair, and prompt treatment for both the complainant and those who are the subject of the complaint. If you have any questions or a complaint, we encourage you to speak to one of the designated people.


  • At the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, the office of the Service Quality and Complaints Commissioner through an ombudsman (independent mediator)
    T: 514 340 8222 ext. 24222


How many palliative care homes are there in Quebec?

Currently, there are 37 independent palliative care homes in Quebec.

Why a day centre?

As soon as a palliative approach is initiated, the patient and his or her loved ones can benefit from a range of services to help them get through this difficult period. The day centre is intended to be a warm and family gathering place allowing people living with an incurable illness, their loved ones, and bereaved individuals to receive care and services, but also to relax and to find comfort and respite.

Is the Catholic Church involved in this project?

The Archdiocese of Montreal generously transferred the use of the building and land via an emphyteutic lease for the home and day centre, which welcomes people of all backgrounds, regardless of their social status, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs. Our organization is non-denominational.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, contact us and we’ll be happy to help you.