Palliative & End of Life Care
Palliative care and end of life care have a lot in common. Both types of care support people (and their families) who are living with an illness that cannot be cured.

Many people think of palliative care and end of life care as being  the same thing. They are not. Palliative Care is an overarching term that describes the care provided for patients who are living with a serious life-limiting illness and includes end of life care. End of life care is care provided during a patient’s palliative care journey when they have only days or short weeks of life.

The key difference between palliative care and end of life care is the timing:

  • Palliative care is focused on improving the quality of life for people (and their families) who are living with an illness that cannot be cured; at any point of their serious illness.

  • End of life care is for people who are in the last weeks or days of their life.

Click here to learn more about Palliative and End-of-Life Care

Palliative care is focused on improving the quality of life for people who are living with an illness that cannot be cured, at any point of their serious illness and supporting their families.

Palliative care considers the whole person; it can help with:
•    Physical care & medications, e.g. pain, nausea & vomiting, breathlessness
•    Emotional support, e.g. help managing the anxiety of living with an illness that cannot be cured
•    Spiritual support
•    Practical plans for the future, e.g. advance care planning

Who provides palliative care?

  • Palliative care is provided by teams of different healthcare professionals such as nurses, family doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and homecare.
  • Palliative care teams coordinate the care you receive and create personal care plans to make sure your wishes, wants, needs and hopes are met.
  • Palliative care can be provided in different places including your home, your doctor’s office or a clinic. 
  • More specialized palliative care can be provided in care homes, hospitals, or in hospices.
  • Talk to your healthcare team to find out if palliative care is right for you.

Helpful links to learn more about Palliative Care in Alberta

AHS What is Palliative Care?

Learn about Palliative Care - Compassionate Alberta

Canadian Virtual Hospice Palliative Care FAQs

Pilgrims Hospice Society

End of life care is an important part of palliative care and supports people to live as comfortably as possible in their last weeks or days of life, and to die with dignity.

It focuses on managing the physical symptoms and providing emotional support for the individual, their family and their friends.

Who receives end of life care?

People who are considered to be nearing the end of their life, e.g. if they’re likely to die within the next few weeks  or days. Although it’s not always possible to predict when someone will die.

End of life care is also given to those whose death is thought to be imminent.

Who delivers end of life care?

Depending on a person’s circumstances end of life care, like palliative care, is provided by teams of different healthcare professionals such as:

Family physicians

Nurses

Palliative care consultants

Physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers

Homecare teams

Chaplains and spiritual counselors

Helpful Links:

Click here to learn more about End of Life Care

Click here to learn more about the Canadian Virtual Hospice

Click here to access resources to help with grief