Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Palliative and Hospice Care Defined

  • Palliative care is both a philosophy and an approach to care.
  • Palliative care is not restricted to care during the last months or days of life.
  • Palliative care can be used in conjunction with curative treatments.
  • WHO defines palliative care as an approach to care that aims to “improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual”
  • Hospice care usually refers to the last months of life and brings with it an association with the place of care as a specialized facility.
Clinical Management
End-of-Life Care During the Last Days and Hours
Background Information