Lexicon of Terms related to the Integrated Palliative Approach to Care


Like all health care practices, hospice palliative care has its own language and terminology. This lexicon of terms is designed to help those interested in implementing the integrated palliative approach to care develop a common language and understanding.

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For citation: Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, Lexicon, The Way Forward Initiative: An Integrated Palliative Approach to care, 2014.

Pain and symptom management

Pain and other symptoms that cause discomfort (e.g., shortness of breath, fatigue, changes in mood or functional ability, psychosocial or spiritual distress) can be caused by underlying diseases. They can also be caused by the treatments for those diseases, the side effects of treatments and the process of aging. The integrated palliative approach to care focuses on helping people manage pain and other symptoms as a way to reduce discomfort and improve quality of life. Many different techniques can be used to manage symptoms, including medication, exercise (physiotherapy), breathing, meditation, the use of heat and cold, biofeedback processes, diet, repositioning, counselling and psychosocial and spiritual support.

Palliative approach to care

See “Integrated palliative approach to care”

Performance Indicators

A statistical compilation of standardized measures/metrics used to evaluate specific parameters of a health service, such as access and quality.


Someone living with a chronic progressive illness. Based on the person’s preferences and wishes, the person directs and guides his or her own care plan as far as possible, and is a contributing member of the interdisciplinary team.

Plan of Care

The written plan that describes the person’s assessed health needs and goals, and the care that will be provided to meet those needs and goals. 


A formal caregiver who is a member of an organization and accountable to norms of conduct and standards of practice. They may be professionals, support workers or volunteers.