Palliative care helps patients with serious illness live as well as possible during their illness and provides compassionate care to relieve the range of physical and emotional symptoms that often accompany serious illness or the side effects of treatment. Although palliative medicine is a newly-named specialty in medicine, the idea behind it is far from new. Palliative care focuses on attending to the needs of the whole person — physically, psychologically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

COVID-19 and Palliative Care

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, palliative care has become more important than ever. Find informational materials about COVID-19 and palliative care for clinicians and patients/public, video, member stories and more on our COVID-19 and Palliative Care page.

CHA Resources

End-of-Life Ethics Guides

End-of-Life Ethics Guides

These ethics publications, available in English and Spanish, are designed to help patients, families and caregivers think about end-of-life decisions and prepare an advance health care directive. CHA has developed these in collaboration with physicians, nurses, theologians and ethicists within Catholic health care. Although a reflection of the perspective of Catholic tradition, the information is helpful to persons from any religious tradition.

Advance Directives: Expressing Your Health Care Wishes
Download the PDF (English | Spanish)
Order in the CHA Store

Teachings of the Catholic Church: Caring for People at the End of Life
Download the PDF (English | Spanish)
Order in the CHA Store

Palliative and Hospice Care

Palliative and Hospice Care:
Caring Even When We Cannot Cure

This new palliative care guide from CHA assists patients, families, physicians, nurses and caregivers with decisions about serious illness and end-of-life care. CHA developed the guide in collaboration with physicians, nurses, theologians and ethicists within Catholic health care and with the Supportive Care Coalition, a national coalition of Catholic health ministries that advances excellence in palliative care. Although the guide reflects the perspective of Catholic tradition, the information can be helpful to people from any religious tradition. 

Download the PDF (English | Spanish)
Order in the CHA Store

Partner Organizations

CHA works with the following organizations to promote high quality palliative care for all who need it.

Supportive Care Coalition (SCC) is a coalition of Catholic health ministries working to create a health care system where all those with seriously illness have access to high quality palliative care. The work of the SCC is focused on ethics, advocacy, spirituality, and education.

Patient Quality of Life Coalition represents over 40 organizations dedicated to improving quality of care and quality of life for these patients – from pediatrics to geriatrics – and to advancing public policies that improve and expand access to palliative care and appropriate pain management for these individuals.

Circle of Life Award honors innovative palliative and end-of-life care in hospices, hospitals, health care systems, long-term care facilities, and other direct care providers.
Whole Person Care Initiative is a national partnership to develop quality palliative care programs that support and accompany the chronically and terminally ill in both clinical and parish settings.

Other Resources

Archdiocese of Boston Initiative for Palliative Care provides education, outreach and advocacy to create an informed public about palliative care, including support and education about Advance Care Planning, which allows people to discuss and make known their wishes for care in anticipation of a time when they cannot speak for themselves.

Center to Advance Palliative Care provides tools, training, technical assistance, and metrics needed to build and sustain palliative care in all health care settings.

Communication Skills Pathfinders – a web portal designed to connect all clinicians who care for seriously ill patients to easily access, proven communications skills training. This resource was developed by a collaboration of  Ariadne Labs; the Center to Advance Palliative Care, and VitalTalk.

Institute for Human Caring, Providence St. Joseph Health

National Association of Catholic Chaplains along with Board Chaplaincy Certification, Inc. offers an advanced certification in palliative care and hospice.

National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care was founded in 2001 by the leading hospice and palliative care organizations to better communicate, coordinate, and collaborate on issues and activities of importance to the interdisciplinary hospice and palliative care field. NASHP Resource Hub: State Strategies to Address Palliative Care - Tools and resources to help states advance palliative care. Palliative Care, Carmelite Sisters for the Aged & Infirm

Pontifical Academy for Life, PALLIFE Project is an international study group with the purpose of supporting the academy in its initiatives to promote palliative care throughout the world.