Palliative Care

Palliative care is specialized care intended for patients living with a terminal illness. The services help patients and families achieve the best quality of life possible by relieving any stress or symptoms caused by their illness. Palliative care is also known as end-of-life or comfort care.1

Palliative care can help with the following:2

  • Reducing the symptoms of prostate cancer 
  • Reducing the side effects of treatment
  • Managing pain
  • Addressing emotional, psychological and spiritual needs
  • Enhancing and enjoying relationships with friends and family
  • Supporting the patient in living as actively and fully as possible
  • Supporting caregivers
  • Preparing for the end of life

Palliative care does not necessarily end when your loved one passes away. Many hospice palliative care centers offer bereavement programs to friends and family to provide an additional support system as they grieve their loss.

Palliative Care Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are palliative care and hospice care the same thing? 
In Canada, the two terms are the same thing.

Who benefits from palliative care? 
Family, friends and the individual who has a life-threatening illness. The end-of-life stage is difficult – these centers try to make it as easy as possible on the individual and their support system.

What is involved in palliative care? 
Palliative care aims to:

  • Affirm life and regard dying as a normal process.
  • Provide relief from pain and other distressing symptoms.
  • Integrate the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care.
  • Offer a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death.
  • Offer a support system to help the family cope during the patient’s illness and in their own bereavement.

Who provides palliative care? 
Who is on the palliative care team is determined by the needs of the patients and their family. The team often includes nurses with specialized palliative care skills, the person’s family physician, a physician specialized in palliative care, a social worker, a spiritual counsellor, and a pharmacist.

Where can people receive palliative care? 

  • Palliative care is often provided at people’s homes through home care programs. These programs provide professional nursing care and a variety of other services such as pain and symptom management teams, 24-hour response teams, day programs, etc. 
  • Some hospitals have palliative care units with a team made up of healthcare professionals who specialize in palliative care.
  • Palliative care services may also be offered at long-term care facilities such as nursing homes although they are less likely to have a specialized palliative care unit.
  • At hospices. In Canada, there are only a few residential hospices – separate buildings or apartments where palliative care is provided in a home-like setting. Some people move into hospices to receive palliative care on a 24-hour basis.

Who pays for palliative care?
If you chose to receive palliative care in a hospital, it is likely to be funded by the provincial health plan. These plans usually include the cost of drugs, medical supplies and equipment. If the patient opts for at-home palliative care services, it may be paid for by the provincial health plan as part of a home care program although these plans do not always include the cost of drugs and equipment. Some plans allow only a certain number of paid hours of professional and home support services. Once the hours have been completed, people will need to pay for the services. It is important that people requiring palliative care find out what financial assistance or subsidies are available. Bereavement support is generally cost-free.

Palliative Care Resources

Compassionate Care Benefits – Employment insurance benefits paid to people who have to be away from work temporarily, to support or provide care to a family member who is gravely ill and who has a significant risk of dying within 26 weeks (six months). A maximum of six weeks of compassionate care benefits may be paid to eligible people.

The Canadian Virtual Hospice – Provides support and personalized information about palliative and end-of-life care to patients, family members, health care providers, researchers and educators.

The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association – Responsible for advancing and advocating quality end-of-life/hospice palliative care in Canada with an emphasis on public policy, public education and awareness.

Canadian Palliative Care Services


The Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association
The Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association (AHPCA) engages in actions and strategies that result in comprehensive, equitable, and quality end-of-life care for Albertans.

Contact information:
1245-70 Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2H 2X8
Tel: (403) 206-9938

Edmonton Zone Palliative Care Program
The Edmonton Zone Palliative Care Program (EZPCP), formerly known as the Regional Palliative Care Program (RPCP), is a community-based model of palliative care services designed to increase access to high quality, cost-effective palliative care services.

Contact information:
335 St. Marguerite Health Services Centre
Grey Nuns Community Centre
1090 Youville Drive West
Edmonton, AB T6L 0A3
Tel: (780)735-7834
Fax: (780) 735-7640

Intercare Hospice Programs
The Intercare Hospice Program offers comprehensive care focused on easing the physical, emotional and spiritual pain that often accompanies a terminal illness.

Contact Information:
Chinook Hospice
1261 Glenmore Trail SW
Calgary, AB T2V 4Y8
Tel: (403) 258-0040
Fax: (403) 255-7323

Southwood Hospice
211 Heritage Drive SE
Calgary, AB T2H 1M9
Tel: (403) 252-0620
Fax: (403) 252-9291

University of Alberta Hospital
The Palliative Care Medicine division focuses on the assessment and management of physical and psychosocial-spiritual issues experienced by patients with advanced cancer and other palliative care patient populations.

Contact information:
Palliative Care Program
8440 112 Street Outpatient Residence Room 4T1.11
Edmonton, AB T6G 2B7
Tel: (780) 407-2840
Fax: (780) 407-1394


CancerCare Manitoba
General information on palliative care for patients in the province of Manitoba.

Contact information:
Tel: (204) 787-2197
Toll-free: 1-866-561-1026

Grace Hospital
Grace Hospice is a free-standing palliative care facility on the grounds of Grace Hospital. It provides a comfortable and peaceful environment where people dealing with progressive illnesses can live.

Contact information:
300 Booth Drive
Winnipeg, MB R3J 3M7
Tel: (204) 837-0111
Emergency Inquiry line: (204) 837-0157

Palliative Manitoba
Palliative Manitoba is a registered charity that is focused on improving the quality of life for patients living with a terminal illness. Serving as a vital resource for individuals, families, and caregivers, Palliative Manitoba provides services, programs, and information to help alleviate emotional and physical stress.

Contact information:
2109 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3J0L3
Tel: (204) 889-8525
Toll-free in Manitoba: 1-800-539-0295
Fax: (204) 888-8874

Riverview Health Centre
This unit is for patients with life-limiting illnesses who have been registered with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Palliative Care Program and require the knowledge and expertise of an interdisciplinary Palliative Care Team.

Contact information:
One Morley Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3L 2P4
Tel: (204) 478-6203

New Brunswick

New Brunswick Hospice Palliative Care Association
The New Brunswick Hospice Palliative Care Association provides leadership to enhance quality end-of-life-care for individuals and families living with life-threatening illnesses in New Brunswick.

Contact information:
135 MacBeath Ave
Moncton, NB E1C 6Z8
Tel: (506) 857-5001
Fax: (506) 857-5133


Hospice Palliative Care Ontario
An information network for Ontario residents on hospice palliative care, treatment, education and support.

Contact information:
2 Carlton Street, Suite 707
Toronto, ON M5B 1J3
Tel: (416) 304-1477
Toll Free: 1-800-349-3111
Fax: (416) 304-1479

LRCP Palliative Care Services
Information and support services for patients in the Southwest region of Ontario.

Contact information:
Tel: (519) 685-8500 ext. 57930 & ext. 57918

Prince Edward Island

Provincial Office
Hospice PEI (Hospice Palliative Care Association of PEI)
Information and support services for patients in the Southwest region of Ontario.

Contact information:
93 Murchison Lane
Charlottetown, PE C1A 0G3
Tel: (902) 368-4498

West Prince
Hospice & Grief Support Services
Tel: (902) 859-2870

East Prince
Hospice & Grief Support Services
Tel: (902) 438-4231

Hospice Services
Tel: (902) 368-4095

Grief Support Services
Tel: (902) 368-4064


West Island Palliative Care
With its two facilities (André-Brunet and Stillview Pavilions), the West Island Palliative Care Residence provides compassionate care allowing terminally ill patients to comfortably pass away with dignity in a warm, home-like environment, close to their family, and in their community.

Contact information:
265 Rue André-Brunet
Kirkland, QC H9H 3R4
Tel: (514) 693-1718

Jeffery Hale Saint Brigid’s
Saint Brigid’s Home, founded in 1856, is a publicly-funded long-term care residence for senior citizens who can no longer live at home. They recognize each person as a holistic being with biological, physiological, social and spiritual needs.

Contact information:
1250 Chemin Sainte-Foy
Québec, QC G1S 2M6
Tel: (418) 684-5333

The Palliative Home-care Society of Greater Montreal
Offers palliative care services to anyone suffering from a pre-terminal or terminal illness who wishes to remain at home during the last phase of their life.

Contact information:
1110 Jean Talon East, Suite 301
Montreal, QC H2R 1V9
Tel: (514) 272-7200
Fax: (514) 272-0134


Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region Palliative Care Services
The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region is the largest health care delivery system in southern Saskatchewan, and one of the most integrated health delivery agencies in the country. Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region provides tertiary care to residents of Saskatchewan in two provincial hospitals – the Regina General Hospital and the Pasqua Hospital.

Contact information:
Tel: (306) 766-3232
Toll-free: 1-866-411-7272

Greystone Bereavement Centre
The Greystone Bereavement Centre provides grief and bereavement services in a safe environment for people to share their experiences.

Contact information:
1802 McAra St.
Regina, SK S4N 6C4
Tel: (306) 523-2780
Fax: (306) 523-2787

Saskatchewan Hospice Palliative Care Association
Their mission is to strive towards achieving comfort and peace for persons across Saskatchewan living and dying with a terminal illness.

Contact Information:
Box 37053
Regina, SK S4S 7K3
Tel: (306) 522-3232
Toll-free: 1-888-614-8016



Palliative Care Program
Palliative care information and services for patients within the Yukon community.

Contact Information:
Box 2703
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 2C6
Tel: (867) 456-6807
Toll-free (in Yukon): 1-800-661-0408 ext.6807

Nunavut does not have a hospice palliative care association in place. For information on hospice palliative care services available in Nunavut, visit the government website at or a government listing of all health centres in Nunavut at

For information on hospice palliative care in Canada visit

Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories Health and Social Services
The Home Care Program helps people remain in their homes when they are sick or in need of medical support with daily living activities.

Contact Information:
4702 Franklin Ave.
5022-49 street BOX 1320
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2L9
Tel: (867) 873-7500