The Value of Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Rounds

Health Quality Ontario’s Palliative Care Quality Standard, Statement #12 – Interdisciplinary Team-Based Care, outlines the important role interdisciplinary team-based care plays in care planning to achieve optimal palliative care outcomes for patients and families1

Through interdisciplinary group discussion on specific cases, we can work together to identify patient/family palliative care needs and collectively determine priorities based on what healthcare providers have learned about the patient/family’s wishes.

Rounds may look slightly different or go by other names depending what sector you work in. However, they all share some common goals:

  • to facilitate communication
  • to allow for collaborative teamwork
  • to share evidence informed recommendations for the patient’s palliative care plan
  • and ultimately improve patient/family outcomes.

Rounds Examples Across Sectors

  • Long Term Care Homes: Palliative care conferences2 are a common example of a form of rounds.  The team holds a meeting to discuss an individual resident with the individual and their substitute decision maker(s) present if possible. Teams might also get together through palliative care committees or comfort care rounds3 to discuss resident cases and make recommendations about their palliative care plan.
  • Palliative Care Units & Hospices: Typically, the team meets on a weekly basis to have rounds to discuss the patients and families they are caring for on the unit/residence with the aim of ensuring their care planning is up to date.
  • Home & Community Care: Providers across multiple organizations and disciplines come together monthly for regional palliative care rounds to discuss patient cases and work together to address challenges and issues through evidence-informed suggestions. To learn more about this approach, check out Interior Health’s whole community palliative care rounds4.

Benefits to Patient/Family5

  • Timely access to interventions & supports to improve their quality of life
  • Increased awareness & understanding of patient/family’s issues/ gaps in care
  • Improved communication of patient/family’s needs/ wishes/goals of care
  • Patient and family are supported to manage their palliative care needs

Benefits to Health Care Provider5

  • Facilitates linkages to evidence informed palliative care tools/resources to enhance their clinical practice & improve the care the patient/family receives
  • Practical & relevant case-based learning through group discussions & facilitated communication’
  • Opportunity for networking & building trusting relationships with other healthcare providers across organizations.
    Improves system efficiencies & saves healthcare resources by preventing expensive patient transfers for unmanaged issues etc.


  1. HPC Consultation Services & Health Quality Ontario
  2. SPA-LTC
  3. Palliative Alliance
  4. Interior Health
  5. Canadian Home Care Association

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PDF – The Value of of Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Rounds