Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

End-of-Life Care Defined

  • Within the palliative care philosophy, death is viewed as a normal process.
  • End-of-Life care:
    • Encompasses care of the whole person, including his/her physical, psychological, social, spiritual and practical needs.
    • Ensures that care is respectful of human dignity.
    • Supports meaningful living as defined by the individual.
    • Tailors care planning to meet the individual’s goals of care.
    • Recognizes the individual with life-limiting disease and his/her family as the unit of care.
    • Supports the family to cope with loss and grief during the illness and bereavement periods.
    • Respects the individual’s personal, cultural and religious values, beliefs and practices in the provision of care.
    • Values ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice, truthfulness and confidentiality.
    • Recognizes the individual as autonomous, who has a right to end-of-life care and to make decisions regarding his/her care to the degree he/she desires.
    • Recognizes the importance of a collaborative interprofessional team approach to care, and also recognizes the efforts of non-health-care professionals (e.g. volunteers, faith leaders).
Clinical Management
End-of-Life Care During the Last Days and Hours
Background Information