Palliative Care


Palliative care enhances the quality of life of people with a life-limiting illness.

It may include:

  • Help with decisions about treatments
  • Expert medical care to help with pain and other symptoms at home or in hospital
  • End-of-life care
  • Social, psychological, emotional and spiritual support
  • Support for family, friends and caregivers
  • Information about financial, legal and other services
  • Bereavement support


Palliative care is not necessarily provided by a specialized team. All health care professionals have a role to play in providing a palliative approach to care.

A palliative approach to care can help people early in their illness. It can start at diagnosis, when treatments are taking place and when there may still be many months and years left to live.

The tools provided in this subject guide can assist you as you provide a palliative approach to care, which involves:

  • The early identification of people with life-limiting illness who might benefit from this type of care
  • Ongoing assessment of physical, social, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs. This includes doing regular symptom and function assessments
  • Comprehensive care planning for current needs, as well as advance care planning and preparing for death
  • Appropriate linkages and referrals to other supports or resources


The Gold Standards Framework PIG is one of the resources used as part of the GSF programmes in end-of-life care. Principles and materials for The Gold Standards Framework © K Thomas, the National GSF Centre. Used with permission from the National GSF Centre in End of Life Care.

Community Hospice Standards

The Nova Scotia Community Hospice Standards set the minimum expectations for the service delivery and operation of hospice settings. The  standards focus on four fundamental areas: Clinical Care, Governance, Operations and Quality Assurance. All hospice settings must comply with relevant building codes, legislation and regulations that govern registered charities and care settings.