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Evidence to Improve Care

Palliative Care

Care for Adults With a Progressive, Life-Limiting Illness

Click below to see a list of brief quality statements and scroll down for more information.

Quality standards are sets of concise statements designed to help health care professionals easily and quickly know what care to provide, based on the best evidence.

See below for the quality statements and click for more detail.

Quality Statement 1: Identification and Assessment of Needs
People with a progressive, life-limiting illness have their palliative care needs identified early through a comprehensive and holistic assessment.

Quality Statement 2: Timely Access to Palliative Care Support
People with identified palliative care needs have access to palliative care support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Quality Statement 3: Advance Care Planning—Substitute Decision-Maker
People with a progressive, life-limiting illness know who their future substitute decision-maker is. They engage in ongoing communication with their substitute decision-maker about their wishes, values, and beliefs, so that the substitute decision-maker is empowered to participate in the health care consent process if required.

Quality Statement 4: Goals of Care Discussions and Consent
People with identified palliative care needs or their substitute decision-makers have discussions with their interdisciplinary health care team about their goals of care to help inform their health care decisions. These values-based discussions focus on ensuring an accurate understanding of both the illness and treatment options so the person or their substitute decision-maker has the information they need to give or refuse consent to treatment.

Quality Statement 5: Individualized, Person-Centred Care Plan
People with identified palliative care needs collaborate with their primary care provider and other health care professionals to develop an individualized, person-centred care plan that is reviewed and updated regularly.

Quality Statement 6: Management of Pain and Other Symptoms
People with identified palliative care needs have their pain and other symptoms managed effectively, in a timely manner.

Quality Statement 7: Psychosocial Aspects of Care
People with identified palliative care needs receive timely psychosocial support to address their mental, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual needs.

Quality Statement 8: Education for Patients, Substitute Decision-Makers, Families, and Caregivers
People with a progressive, life-limiting illness, their future substitute decision-maker, their family, and their caregivers are offered education about palliative care and information about available resources and supports.

Quality Statement 9: Caregiver Support
Families and caregivers of people with identified palliative care needs are offered ongoing assessment of their needs, and are given access to resources, respite care, and grief and bereavement support, consistent with their preferences.

Quality Statement 10: Transitions in Care
People with identified palliative care needs experience seamless transitions in care that are coordinated effectively among settings and health care providers.

Quality Statement 11: Setting of Care and Place of Death
People with identified palliative care needs, their substitute decision-maker, their family, and their caregivers have ongoing discussions with their health care professionals about their preferred setting of care and place of death.

Quality Statement 12: Interdisciplinary Team-Based Care
People with identified palliative care needs receive integrated care from an interdisciplinary team, which includes volunteers.

Quality Statement 13: Education for Health Care Providers and Volunteers
People receive palliative care from health care providers and volunteers who possess the appropriate knowledge and skills to deliver high-quality palliative care.

Search below for the quality standard; the guide for patients; an information brief demonstrating why the quality standard is needed; quality improvement tools and resources; and performance indicators to help clinicians and organizations track their progress against the standard.

Quality Standard

Know what quality care looks like, based on evidence and expert consensus (to be updated this spring)

The clinical guide cover for Palliative Care

Patient Reference Guide

Patients: know what to ask for in your care

Patient reference guide cover for Palliative Care

Quality Standard Placemat

A quick-reference tool for clinicians that summarizes the quality standard and includes links to helpful resources and tools

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Recommendations for Adoption

System-wide and regional requirements to help health care professionals and organizations meet the standards

Recommendations for Adoption

Getting Started Guide

Quality improvement tools and resources for health care professionals, including an action plan template. For best results, please view the Guide on your desktop using Adobe Reader.

Getting Started Guide


See why we need a quality standard for palliative care in Ontario

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Measurement Guide

See the technical specifications for the indicators within the quality standard

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We have prepared a summary of the public feedback we received for this quality standard. If you would like a copy of this report, please email us at

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