Palliative care competency framework

Competencies for the six disciplines

A competency framework for two levels of care

triangle of showing specialist at smaller top and generalist at wider bottomThe framework has been tailored for two levels of care: the generalist and the specialist. The framework recognizes that some healthcare providers will move between the two levels of care, depending on their specific expertise.

When using this document in conjunction with a provincial palliative care competency framework, some provinces include a middle level, called “Enhanced practice,” which represents healthcare providers who have enhanced knowledge and expertise in palliative care, and may provide local consultation, but do not have a specialized practice.

Competencies for these enhanced groups are likely included in some of the specialist and generalist competencies within the Framework. This Canadian framework does not include the middle level because of the wide classification variations we found between and within provinces.

Specialist: A healthcare provider whose practice is focused on palliative care and consultation for people and families or caregivers affected by life-limiting conditions, especially those with complex needs.

Generalist: A healthcare provider whose practice includes people with life-limiting conditions and their families or caregivers, but not as the primary focus of their practice.

Generalists provide palliative care in partnership with specialists in three models:

  1. maintaining primary responsibility with specialist consultation
  2. sharing care with specialists
  3. transferring the patient to specialists

Discipline-specific competencies