Alberta Health Services

Provincial Health Services - Emergency Medical Services Palliative and End of Life Care Assess Treat and Refer Program

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This program has been developed to support patients and their families who have chosen to receive palliative and end-of-life care at home.

This service is for both adults and pediatrics, the only difference between the 2 is peds has a Specialized Treatment Protocol (SPT) that can be accessed by the front line paramedics in the home as well a dispatch Location Of Interest (LOI) form. This service links primary and palliative care resources in the community to collaboratively manage patients in a symptom crisis.

The program may be initiated by paramedics, who arrive in the home after a 911 call from the patient or family, or by a clinician, who has assessed the patient (in the home or over the phone) and determines additional support is needed on an urgent basis.

Over 50% of patients having a crisis related to their life limiting illness are recognized through routine 911 call and front line paramedics assess the patient to be appropriate for the program and will attempt to make contact with the patient's home/palliative care team. If these teams are unavailable the paramedic will contact the 24/7 on call palliative physician through RAAPID. If all of the above teams are not available the paramedics can call On-line Medical Consultation (OLMC), a 24/7 ED physician available to all front line paramedics.

The program brings an interdisciplinary team directly to the patient. The frontline paramedic crew and the clinician work together, with the patient and the patient's family, to provide care that aligns with the patient's wishes and Goals of Care Designation (GCD). They also have access to an on-call physician to determine the best treatment.

If possible, and at the patient's wishes they will be supported to remain in their home. However, paramedics will provide transport to the emergency department, if desired or required.

For further information see our website.

Key Provider: doctors (family, palliative specialists ED), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), occupational therapists (OTs), paramedics(Primary Care Paramedics(PCP's)and Advanced Care Paramedics(ACP's), physiotherapists (PTs), registered nurses (RNs), respiratory therapists
Yes, This program is for both adults and pediatric patients who are getting palliative and end-of-life care at home, and in supported living sites supported by home care and/or other healthcare professionals. Treatments may be for the following palliative symptoms:
  • pain that gets worse
  • breathing problems
  • delirium (confusion)
  • nausea or vomiting
  • bleeding
Application Process
Service Access: See below, Patients cannot directly access this service. Patients receiving palliative and end of life care in the community should access their primary or palliative care team, or 911, as they would routinely do if experiencing symptom crisis and require healthcare provider support.There are no such thing as palliative paramedics or palliative ambulances. The program utilizes the ambulances that are in every community in the province.Referral Process: No

Waiting Period: No,
Web Site
Interpreter/Translation services
Fee: Yes,

The Government of Alberta provides funding to provide emergency medical services (EMS) to Albertans. Patients receiving palliative and end of life care are encouraged to apply for Palliative Coverage (administered by Alberta Blue Cross) so this paramedic service is covered.

Fee Reduction: Yes,

Patients are encouraged to apply for Palliative Coverage with Alberta Health (administered by Alberta Blue Cross), so services are covered.

Membership Fee: N/A
Wheelchair access: Yes - Other disabled access: N/A -
Last Updated On
August 31, 2021