People come to palliative care not as a disease… but as complex human beings, with hopes and fears, needs, history and expectations based on the context and experiences of their lives, their families, and their culture1

Psychosocial care is an essential component of palliative care. There are a complex range of experiences and issues (psychological, spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, socio-economic and practical) that may impact patients and family/caregivers, and health care teams.

This section provides information and tools to assist health care professionals in providing psychosocial support to patients and family/caregivers from point of contact and throughout the care continuum, including bereavement.

Psychosocial care is an expanding field within palliative care, and literature supports a range of theories, models, and practice approaches. Cultural and social diversity reminds us there are no universal methods for providing psychosocial care. Therefore, it is important that information provided in this section is utilized and adapted to suit the individual and collective needs of people within each community and health care setting.


Cairns M, Thompson M, Wainwright W. Transitions in dying and bereavement: a psychosocial guide for hospice and palliative care. Victoria (BC): Victoria Hospice Society; 2003.
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