How to access palliative care

a senior couple using a laptop on the sofa at home

If you wish to arrange for palliative care services, your first step is to speak with your care provider or contact us for more specialized services.

How to access Primary Palliative Care services

  • Speak with your family doctor, nurse practitioner, or specialist about your symptoms and/or desire for supportive conversations.
  • You can also contact your local health unit to request home and community care services (e.g. nurses, care aides, allied health).

How to access Specialized Palliative Care providers and teams

Contact the specialized palliative care access line in your area for more information

North Shore

Phone: (604) 984-3743
Fax: (604) 984-3798


Phone: (604) 742-4010
Fax: (604) 872-7270

Sea to Sky

Phone: (604) 892-6051
Fax (604) 892-6027

Other communities

Please contact your local health unit

What to expect

Primary Palliative Care

Primary Palliative Care is provided by any healthcare worker overseeing the healthcare of people with serious illnesses. They include family doctors, nurse practitioners, other specialists, home health/home care nurses, home support/care aides, allied health providers, among others.

Note: Many people experiencing chronic serious illness can be well supported by their primary care teams who provide primary palliative care, including pain and symptom management and supportive conversations. Not all people will require specialized palliative care over the course of their illness.

Specialized Palliative Care

Specialized Palliative Care is provided by clinicians with formal training and experience in more complex palliative care. They include doctors, nurses, social workers, spiritual care practitioners, among others. Specialized Palliative Care Providers collaborate with Primary Palliative Care Providers to support patients and families who have more complex palliative care needs, which may include:

  • Pain & symptom management
  • Psychosocial support
  • Spiritual care
  • End-of-life care

Depending on your location, VCH may offer a range of specialized palliative care services, including:  

  • 24/7 at-home palliative nursing care (‘shift care nursing’) 
  • 24/7 at-home respite palliative nursing care for families/support networks (‘shift care nursing’) 
  • Community outpatient/ambulatory palliative care clinics and wellness programs
  • Palliative care units in hospitals
  • Hospices for end-of-life care
  • Consultations for healthcare providers on more complex cases