Find information on palliative care

What is palliative and end-of-life care?

Palliative care is an approach to care for individuals and families living with a life-limiting illness. Often their condition is at an advanced stage. The goal of a palliative approach to care is to provide comfort and dignity. This approach leads to the best quality of life for both this person and their family. 

Palliative care addresses:

  • individual's and family's expectations;
  • needs, hopes and fears;
  • physical issues;
  • psychological issues;
  • social issues;
  • spiritual issues; and
  • practical issues.

Who benefits from a palliative approach to care?

Individuals with life-limiting illnesses benefit from a palliative approach to care. So do their families. Hospice palliative care helps those living with many diseases.

Some of these diseases include:

  • cancer;
  • advanced heart disease;
  • respiratory disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • Alzheimer’s disease;
  • AIDS;
  • ALS; and
  • Multiple Sclerosis.

Where is hospice palliative care offered?

Hospice palliative care is offered in a variety of places:

  • at home;
  • in hospitals;
  • in long-term care facilities; and
  • in hospices.

Many people approaching end-of-life receive care from their family and friends. Often they are also supported by health services in the community. At certain times, it may not be possible to manage care at home for a variety of reasons.

In these situations, hospice palliative care is usually provided by health care professionals. This often happens in the hospital, long-term care facilities or in a hospice house. This includes short or longer stays in one of these settings. The length of stay often depends on the person and on their family's goals.

Despite the person not being at home, the person and their family are encouraged to make choices about the kind of care they wish to receive, and to take an active part in planning care.

The Yukon Palliative Care Program consists of 2 separate services:

  • Palliative Care Resource Team; and
  • Wind River Hospice House.

Palliative Care Resource Team

Through education, consultation and coordination, our team supports:

  • health care providers;
  • Yukoners living with a life-threatening illness;
  • those who are approaching end of life;
  • family members; and
  • caregivers.

We’re here to:

  • help you navigate the health care system to best support your needs;
  • provide palliative care education to support health care professionals; and
  • support care providers with:
    • best practice information;
    • assessment tools; and
    • clinical advice.

While the team does not coordinate primary care, we do assist existing care providers or help link people to the right services.

We offer the following educational opportunities to health care providers:

  • essentials in palliative care for registered and non-registered health care professionals;
  • pallium learning essential approaches in palliative care (LEAP) course;
  • self-study courses;
  • online modules;
  • public education sessions, including sessions on advance care planning and dementia care; and
  • tailored sessions upon request.

Palliative care resources

We offer resources to:

  • health care providers;
  • patients with a palliative diagnosis;
  • family members; and
  • caregivers.

Wind River Hospice House

Yukon hospice care at Wind River Hospice House

The residential hospice house in Whitehorse is in the Whistle Bend long term care home. Care staff provide hospice palliative care on a 24-hour basis in a home-like setting.

These services are available for:

  • adults with clearly life-limiting illnesses in advanced stages; and
  • for those at end of life.
  • Wind River Hospice has designated 8 beds for up to 6 months stay and 4 respite beds for a minimum of 2 weeks stay.

What is the Wind River philosophy of care?

Wind River Hospice House offers an environment to provide safety, comfort and dignity at the end of life. The facility embraces a family-centered approach. This approach supports family members to take part in the care of their loved one as well as themselves. Members of the Wind River hospice care team work with clients and their families to coordinate care with community care partners. Physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual caregivers, support staff, and volunteers all contribute.

Who can stay at Wind River Hospice House

The following people can be admitted to hospice care:

  • adults with a clearly life-limiting illness in its advanced states;
  • adults with a prognosis of 3 months or less; and
  • longer life span trajectories looked at and approved on a case-by-case basis.

Admission is for end-of-life care only. Clients receive care focused on comfort and quality of life rather than life-prolonging treatment.

Both hospice and palliative care beds are available at Wind River Hospice House.

Staff are available 24 hours, 7 days per week for symptom management care to hospice, respite hospice and palliative residents.

Who can stay at Wind River Hospice House

You can access Wind River Hospice House if you:

  • are an adult (18 and over);
  • are lawfully entitled to be, or remain, in Canada;
  • have a valid Yukon Health Care Insurance Plan card;
  • are a Yukon resident; and
  • have a do-not-resuscitate directive in place.

Minors (under 18 years of age) will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Who can apply for hospice?

People who have a life expectancy of less than 3 months. Those with a longer life expectancy will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Who can receive respite hospice?

People who meet all the eligibility criteria of hospice applicants, except:

  • their life expectancy may be longer than 3 months;
  • they have supports at home and they want to return there; and
  • their stay is between 2 and 4 weeks.

Respite care is for anyone with a palliative diagnosis of 12 months or less. Their plans are to return back to their home after their stay. The goal for respite is to support the individual’s informal caregivers.

Respite care allows caregivers to have a break from providing care. It also allows informal caregivers an opportunity to get acquainted with Wind River Hospice and its staff. In the event the individual decides to receive a palliative approach to care, this allows an introduction to this care.

Who can receive palliative long-term care?

A person with a palliative diagnosis who is eligible for admission to long-term care.

Other resources

Preparing for death

About grief

For medical professionals

Access palliative care

  1. Fill out the Palliative Care Resource Team consult request form.
  2. Submit the form.
    Fax: 867-667-9332



If you have questions about palliative care, email or phone 867-667-9380.

In person: 6 Hospital Road in Whitehorse. Our office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday except for statutory holidays.

Government of Yukon
Palliative Care Resource Team (H-24)
Box 2703
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6