Palliative Institute


Who we are

We are a diverse team of experts and thought leaders. We currently employ over 20 full time staff across three offices and our combined commitment is to alleviate suffering for patients and their families by supporting excellence in palliative and end of life care.

We accomplish this by being engaged and authentic human beings who work hard with our partners with stakeholders across Canada to ensure patients, families’ and caregivers get the support they deserve in a timely manner.

Our team brings a wealth of expertise from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds, including nursing, medicine, paramedicine, psychology, medical research, various scientific disciplines, social sciences and humanities and business management.


The goals of the Palliative Institute include:

  • Increasing palliative care capacity to address gaps in service within Canada
  • Increasing the use of Goals of Care Designation (GCD) and advance care planning
  • Advocating for a national robust palliative and end-of-life care system


The five pillars of the Palliative Institute are:

  1. Policy: Influencing the development of policies that will improve the quality of palliative care through research on best practices and education.

  2. Education: Promoting palliative and end-of-life care learning and education.

  3. Clinical support: Influencing clinical practices based on leading practice and utilizing knowledge obtained through research to improve the quality and comprehensiveness of palliative and end-of-life services.

  4. Research: Developing knowledge through research.

  5. Community outreach: Developing and strengthening partnerships and engaging related communities in support of palliative and end-of-life care.

What we do

We focus on improving palliative care so that is reduces friction throughout the life-limiting illness journey, from a terminal diagnosis to end-of life needs, through research, education, clinical support, policy development and community engagement.

Advocacy and outreach

The Palliative Institute is involved in a range of activities aimed at raising awareness of palliative care and related subject matters among health care professionals and the general public. Our current ongoing initiatives include:

Education & research

The Palliative Institute supports a wide range of activities to support professionals, including planning the annual Palliative Education and Research Day. Read more about our research initiatives.

Clinical support

Palliative Institute staff are involved in the care of palliative care patients and families directly, providing clinical support to the Covenant Health Consult Team at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital, the Misericordia Community Hospital and Villa Caritas.


The Palliative Institute is also responsible for coordinating the Service Excellence Team (SET) for Covenant Health’s Hospice, Palliative and End-of-Life Services Standards, which oversees Covenant’s accreditation process for palliative and end-of-life care. This team includes Palliative Institute staff, five sites across Alberta with five or more dedicated palliative care beds, and other Covenant Health programs/supports.

The role of this SET team is to conduct an appraisal of the national standards for excellence provided by Accreditation Canada through its framework for planning and delivering services, promoting of quality and safety, and monitoring outcomes at Covenant Health sites in preparation for an Accreditation Canada audit

The Palliative Institute also works collaboratively with Alberta Health Services’ Palliative End-of-Life Care provincial teams to create, implement and maintain provincial palliative and Advance Care Planning policies, procedures and clinical guidelines such as the Care of the Imminently Dying Pathway.

Partnerships & collaboration

The Palliative Institute has received financial support from the Covenant Foundation, the Founding Sisters Legacy Fund and is currently receiving funding from the government of Alberta for several ongoing projects.

The institute has collaborated with a wide range of organizations involved in palliative care. These include:

The institute has led or been involved in a number of collaborative projects and committees alongside government agencies, post-secondary institutions and other organizations. These include:

Institute staff also regularly participate in local, national and international palliative care conferences, and publish research articles in leading peer-reviewed journals.