Integrating a Palliative Approach:
Essentials for Personal Support Workers
Second Edition

This text will equip PSWs/HCAs with skills for responding to the changing needs of any person living with life-limiting illness, and their family.


Filled with practical strategies, stories of care-giving, and real-life scenarios, Integrating a Palliative Approach will increase your confidence and competence, in providing compassionate care for the dying. In this textbook, you will develop ways of:

  •  Reflecting on beliefs and values, and maintaining therapeutic boundaries
  • Communicating, including how to avoid roadblocks and open the doors to serious conversations
  • Providing culturally safe care, free of systemic racism and bias for any marginalized person, including First Nations, Inuit, Metis and urban Indigenous people
  • Embedding a trauma-informed approach into your care

You will also learn:

  •  How dying has changed and ways to provide a palliative approach into the care of people with any life-limiting illness, across all care settings
  •  The principles of providing palliative care for a person and their family
  •  Best practices for communicating and providing compassionate care for the person and family
  •  Ways to gather information and provide comfort for a person experiencing common symptoms when declining and dying
  •  About the psychosocial needs of the person and family, and ways to support through grief and loss
  • How to respond when a person expresses interest in advance care planning and Medical Assistance in Dying
  • About common symptoms in the last days and hours, and strategies to use when providing comfort for the dying person and family
  • Risks for developing compassion fatigue and creating a self-care plan
  • The vital role of a PSW on the health care team, and strategies for advocating and communicating

BIG NEWS: Strategies and resources for PSWs to provide culturally safe, palliative and end-of-life care

If you missed the webinar on current teaching challenges and new competencies to address for PSWs and HCAs,
view with this link

 Stunning artwork, accessible text, relevant case studies, and up-to-date evidence are woven together to stimulate learning and reflection about palliative care philosophy and practice.

Dr. David Kenneth Wright, PhD, RN, CHPCN(C), Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa


You will feel safe to explore your biases and understand Indigenous ways of knowing and being as recommended in the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.

Sheila Blackstock, RN, BScN, MScN, COHN PhD (c), Gitxsan First Nation, Associate Teaching Professor, Thompson Rivers University School of Nursing


The second edition of Integrating a Palliative Approach is, in fact, an essential resource for personal support workers. The book continues to be a unique resource providing comprehensive information regarding physical and psychosocial needs.

Betty Ferrell, PhD, FAAN, FPCN Professor and Director, Nursing Research, City of Hope Medical Center Principal Investigator, the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) project


The section on self-care, an area that students feel they do not need to study, contains concrete information on its importance and ideas for developing a plan for self-care.

Zola Goebel, Director, Sprott Shaw College, Lead Curriculum for Health Care Assistant curriculum


This text is the resource for PSW education, for work- place education and independent study.

Pippa Hawley, B.Med, FRCPC (PM) Head, UBC Division of Palliative Care, and BC Cancer Pain and Symptom Management / Palliative Care Program Medical Leader


Kath and her team have done a wonderful job of integrating the most up-to-date frameworks for person-centred care and packaged nuggets of wisdom and experience in a digestible, accessible and visually attractive package.

Doris Barwich MD, CCFP (PC), Medical Director, British Columbia Centre for Palliative Care


This resource directly acknowledges the valuable role of the PSW as a knowledgeable and integral member of the inter-professional team, it is a ‘must-have’ resource for all front-line caregivers seeking ways to provide excellent care for others, while nourishing their practice for personal fulfilment.

Andrea Leatherdale, RN, BScN, GDPI, PMEd, Professor, Practical Nursing, Centennial College


[This] edition is a beautiful balance of practical, approachable, and inspirational. The touchstones take various new competency frameworks, breaks them into easily digestible snippets and ties everything together as part of a bigger whole.

Nadine Valk, BA, MPA, Executive Director / Directrice générale. Champlain Hospice Palliative Care Program

Companion Resources

Workbook – Integrating a Palliative Approach: Essentials for Personal Support Workers

Podcast Library

Boost your students’ learning with these podcasts on the principles and practices of hospice palliative care. Open access to our extensive podcast library means students can listen and learn at school, at home or when they travel – as many times as they want! Podcast topics include standard assessment tools, enhancing comfort, psychosocial care, grief, dementia and bereavement.


These videos use role-plays, experiential activities and lecture-style presentations to help students to integrate a palliative approach into care.  Use as part of lecture, or in a flipped classroom. Students can access videos and view to learn the principles and practices in palliative care, and develop their comfort and confidence in providing palliative care.