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Dr. Dawn Yew

Dr. Dawn Yew is a family physician who provides home-based palliative care in Kitchener-Waterloo. 

“My role is to treat anything reversible that is aligned with the patient’s goals, help individuals enjoy their lives and give them time before they pass away.”

Often misunderstood, Dr. Yew explains that the care she provides focuses on delivering compassion for patients with a life-limiting illness as they near their final days.  

While the passion she has for her work is evident, Dr. Yew shares that a challenging aspect of providing this specialized care is determining if the patient’s expectations are the right fit. “It’s always a best guess of who needs palliative care,” says Dr. Yew. While a patient may receive palliative care in a hospital, hospice, long-term care facility or in their home, a referral and consultation is encouraged when a patient has a prognosis of less than one year.

While simultaneously providing care to their patients, another important consideration is for families and caregivers. Not only do they help inform decisions, but the patients’ caregivers receive counsel and support from the care team while navigating their own feelings of loss and grief. 

“Our goal is to provide holistic care,” says Dr. Yew. “We are a multidisciplinary team, which includes nurses, care coordinators, social workers and occupational therapists, who work to manage patients’ symptoms, provide physical care and support to the patients and their families during a difficult time.” This is just one example that highlights how all patients could benefit from receiving team-based care.  

For Dr. Yew, the importance of this work is centered on time— the time that allows her to care for her patients and make them comfortable, and the quality time her patients share with their loved ones.