Palliative Care is a type of health care for patients and families facing life-limiting illness. Palliative care helps patients to achieve the best possible quality of life right up until the end of life. Palliative care is sometimes considered end-of-life care, with a main focus on comfort. However, it is increasingly recognized that a palliative approach, as part of health care, is beneficial early on in serious and chronic illness.

In Canada and around the world, quality palliative care:

  • focuses on the concerns of patients and their families;
  • pays close attention to physical symptoms such as pain, nausea, loss of appetite and confusion;
  • considers the emotional and spiritual concerns of patients and families;
  • ensures that care is respectful and supportive of patient dignity;
  • respects the social and cultural needs of patients and families;
  • uses a team approach that may include volunteers, social workers and spiritual leaders in addition to medical staff.

Palliative care does not necessarily end when someone has died. Family members may need support as they grieve the loss of a loved one and try to manage numerous strains and stresses. Bereavement programs are often part of the comprehensive care offered as part of palliative care.



Canadian Virtual Hospital