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What is Palliative and End-of-Life Care

Service Types

Wh​ere Do People Receive Palliative and End-of-Life Care?

In Alberta, you have many options for where to get palliative and end-of-life care—your home, a hospital, a continuing care centre, or a hospice. Talk to your family and your health care team about what’s important to you and where you’d like to be at this time in your illness. Your choice may change as your illness changes, and you can get palliative and end-of-life care at any time. Learn more about your options below to help decide what’s best for you.


Many people choose to stay in their own homes to get palliative and end-of-life care from a home care program. Being in a familiar place, close to loved ones, can help you live as normally as possible.

Home care programs offer nursing care and other home support services, such as:

  • volunteer services
  • community day programs for you
  • care to manage your pain and symptoms
  • teams to help with urgent needs 24/7
  • interdisciplinary care such as support with finances, rehabilitation

If you can’t be at home, talk to your health care team about other options.

There’s also a new program that’s helping to bring emergency care to people who get palliative and end-of-life care in their homes. The EMS Assess, Treat, Refer program has Emergency Medical Services, home care clinicians, doctors, and families working together to help people stay in their homes if that’s what they wish.


In a hospital, care is often given by a team of doctors, nurses, and other health care providers. The team has access to expert palliative care consultants or palliative doctors. Some hospitals have palliative and end-of-life care units, and others set aside beds in different units. There is also an Intensive Palliative Care Unit in the Calgary Zone and a Tertiary Palliative Care Unit in the Edmonton Zone. These are for people with very serious and complex symptoms that need special care to manage them.

Continuing care centres

You can get palliative and end-of-life care services in continuing care centres, like long-term care and supportive living facilities. The type of facility you choose depends on:

  • the lifestyle you want
  • the care you need
  • how much you can do for yourself

If you’re in one of these facilities and you need specialized palliative care services, you may need to stay in a hospital for a short time.


Alberta has many hospices. These places are made to feel like home while giving specialized end-of-life care, 24/7. The care teams focus on your comfort and quality of life, and can help you and your family cope with your feelings about serious illness. In a hospice, you’re cared for by health care professionals (doctors, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and social workers). Availability of other professionals such as spiritual counsellors and other services such as volunteers may be different for each hospice.

Services near you

To find out more about your care options and what types of palliative and end-of-life care services are in your zone, go to the Alberta Health Services - Palliative and End-of-Life Care page.

Learn more

You have many options for palliative and end-of-life care. For more information go to: