Understanding Palliative Care

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About this resource

Understanding Palliative Care is a short interactive module to help you learn more about what palliative care is and the support it offers.

As you go through the module you will hear from Albertans who have personally benefitted from palliative care and learn how palliative care professionals and community members can help relieve the symptoms and stress of living with a serious illness.

Watch this video clip from the module to find out what interviewees Bill and Colleen want everyone to know about palliative care.

Access the module

Click on the button below to begin.

Access to the Understanding Palliative Care module



Once you have completed the module, access the companion handout here.

How it was created

Understanding Palliative Care was inspired by a public education module created by the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care and developed in consultation with a working group of members from across Alberta.

For more information on the background to and creation of this module, please read our article "A Positive Public Message: Introducing the Understanding Palliative Care e-Module" on the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association's blog.

How to use it

Complete the module to deepen your understanding of palliative care.

Share it with those in your social network who might be interested.

If your organization provides support to people who are living with a serious illness or their caregivers, consider using Understanding Palliative Care for employee or volunteer training or professional development.

Contact us to learn more.

Palliative care FAQs

Palliative care can help people of any age who are living with a serious illness. For more information, visit Alberta Health Services' Palliative Care: Is It Right For Me?

It is for people living with any serious illness. This includes heart, kidney, liver and lung disease, cancer, dementia and other neurological illnesses.

It can be provided at any time following diagnosis with a serious illness. Palliative care can be received along with other treatments to cure or control a disease.

Palliative care may be provided by the existing health care team or support may be requested from palliative care specialists.

The palliative care team may include doctors, nurses, social workers, physio- and occupational therapists, spiritual care providers, paramedics and other professionals, in addition to a person’s family and friends.

Don't wait for others to bring it up. If you or someone you know could use additional support with a serious illness, talk to your/their primary care provider about how palliative care might help.

Alternatively, find palliative care services in your area by visiting Alberta Health Services' Palliative Care page.

Palliative care is care for someone with a serious illness that can be accessed in any setting – home, hospital, long-term care – and can be received along with other treatments.

Hospice care is 24-hour care provided at a specialized facility for people in the late stages of an illness. 

Palliative care provides treatment and support to achieve the best quality of life possible. Medications may be administered to manage symptoms but do not cause death.
MAiD is when a doctor or nurse practitioner administers medication to cause death. This can only be done if a person has asked for an assisted death and met all the eligibility criteria set out by federal law.

For more information, see Canadian Virtual Hospice’s Understanding Medical Assistance in Dying.

No. A person can receive palliative care while also considering or applying for MAiD.

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Sharing is caring

My name is Françoise and I'm a research librarian at Edmonton Public Library. I'm fairly new in my job and I’m always looking to share good information with others. I know there’s widespread fear around the term palliative care and I’d like to help raise awareness, as it is really important. Where do I begin?

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