About Palliative Care

Palliative care is…

An approach to care that provides comfort and aims to achieve the best possible quality of life for patients (adults and children) and their families who are facing problems associated with serious illness.

Examples of a serious illness: cancer, dementia, end-stage kidney and lung diseases, heart diseases, and stroke.

Facts about Palliative care:  

pays close attention to and manages pain, nausea, difficult breathing, loss of appetite and confusion 

addresses the needs of patients and families, whether physical, emotional, social, practical, or spiritual. 

can be delivered in hospital, at a hospice, in a long-term care facility, or at home

ensures that care is respectful and supportive of patient dignity and aligned with their wishes

uses a team approach that may include volunteers, social workers and spiritual leaders, in addition to medical staff 

does not hasten or delay death 

Watch these videos to learn more

Better Early than Late

Video by Pallium

Palliative Care Myths-1

Video by Pallium

Palliative Care Myths- 2

Video by Pallium

Choosing palliative care

  • If you or a loved one has received a serious illness diagnosis, you may want to ask your doctor about palliative care.
  • Palliative care may be appropriate at any age and any stage in the course of illness, together with other treatment plans or therapies.
  • Palliative care can be requested at any time during the serious illness journey.

Palliative Care Resources  

Canadian Virtual Hospice: www.VirtualHospice.ca

This website provides support and personalized information and resources about palliative and end-of-life care to patients, family members, health care providers, researchers and educators.

After Hours Palliative Tele-Nursing Service 

Toll-free) 8-1-1 , or for the deaf and hard of hearing, call 7-1-1 (toll-free).

This service is available 9:00 pm – 8:00 am, seven days a week, to all palliative care patients using home care services and their caregivers.

Individuals and/or caregivers can call for any type of palliative questions, information and support.

Individuals or caregivers who call the after-hours line speak first to a nurse with enhanced skills to provide advice by telephone. If they require additional support, they are referred to a specially trained palliative response nurse.

Family Caregivers of BC: www.FamilyCaregiversBC.ca  

(Toll free) 1-877-520-3267

Non-profit group provides direct support for family caregivers (support groups, referral to community organizations, support line), as well as education and engagement.

Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits Program: 

Employment Insurance benefits may be paid to people who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care or support to a family member who is gravely ill and who has a significant risk of death.

A maximum of 26 weeks of compassionate care benefits may be paid to eligible people.

For information on the Employment Insurance program:


CALL 1-800-529-3742

VISIT a Service Canada Centre

BC Bereavement Helpline: www.BCbereavementhelpline.com  (Toll free) 1-877-779-2223 Non-profit, free, and confidential service that connects the public to grief support services within BC.

Victoria Hospice: www.VictoriaHospice.org  (Victoria) 250-370-8715 Bereavement team offers counselling to anyone in the community who is suffering loss, regardless of a prior connection to Victoria Hospice.

Your community hospice society

BC Association of Clinical Counsellors: BC-Counsellors.org  (Toll free) 1-800-909-6303 Resource for connecting with professional counsellors in BC.

Mygrief.ca: Online resource developed to help people work through their grief.

Lower Mainland Grief Recovery Society: lmgr.ca  (Lower Mainland) 604-696-1060 Non-profit charitable organization that organizes grief support groups in the Vancouver area.

Supportive care for patients living with cancer and their families

CLICK  www.InspireHealth.ca 

CALL (Toll free) 1-888-734-7125

Supportive care provided includes: guidance on diet, stress reduction and emotional counseling, decision making, exercise, and personal coaching.

  LivingMyCulture.ca: Online forum for people from various cultures to voice their experiences, wisdom, and traditions relating to palliative care and grief.

Advance Care Planning

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Production of this document has been made possible thanks to funding from Health Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

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