University Of Calgary Postgraduate Medicine

Enhanced Skills – Program Info – Palliative Care

The University of Calgary has a nationally accredited Palliative Care Program.  In the past, we have provided conjoint Palliative Care Training jointly accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC).  Since July 2017, we offer the CFPC Certificate of Added Competence (CAC) in Palliative Care via the Department of Family Medicine Enhanced Skills Program  (please note that RCPSC subspecialty training in Palliative Medicine is offered separately through the Department of Oncology).

 What is Palliative Care?

The World Health Organization definition:

"The active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment.  Control of pain, of other symptoms, and of psychological, social and spiritual problems is paramount.  The goal of palliative care is the achievement of the best possible quality of life of patients and their families.  Many aspects of palliative care are also applicable earlier in the course of the illness ..."

The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association definition:

"Palliative care is aimed at relief of suffering and improving the quality of life for persons who are living with or dying from advanced illness or are bereaved."

Residency Program Description

Training across all aspects of adult palliative care is provided by faculty and inter-professional teams in a seamless service environment.  There is opportunity to develop expertise in care of patients with malignant and non-malignant disease within a variety of palliative service delivery models, including primary palliative care, consultant palliative care and shared consultation with other specialists.  This includes rotations on the Intensive Palliative Care Unit, Acute Care Consult Teams and Community Consult Services (Home Care and Hospices in urban Calgary and rural settings in the Calgary Zone).  Electives expand and round out the program.The program is guided by the CFPC CanMEDS Competency Framework and Competency Based Medical Education principles.


To provide training for physicians planning to develop added competence in palliative care and support other physicians delivering such care in community and acute care settings.

To provide a foundation for scholarly activity, leadership and teaching in palliative care.

Program Overview

The Palliative Care Program consists of the following 13 rotations:

Clinical Curriculum

  • Hospital Consultation Team Junior - 1 block

  • Intensive Palliative Care Unit Junior - 2 blocks

  • Home Care + CAMPP (Calgary Allied Mobile Palliative Program) + Long Term Care visits - 1 block

  • Outpatient Malignant Clinics (Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Dyspnea Clinic, Lymphedema Clinic and Cancer Pain Clinic) - 1 block

  • Scholarly Project - 1 block

  • Calgary Zone Rural Consultation Team - 1 block

  • Outpatient Non Malignant Clinics (End Stage Clinics- cardiology, nephrology, hepatology, chronic disease and respirology, motor neuron disease clinic) - 1 block

  • Hospital Consultation Team Senior - 1 block

  • Intensive Palliative Care Unit Senior - 1 block

  • Home Care + Hospice - 1 block

  • Electives - 2 blocks (from a selection of: paediatric palliative care, chronic pain service, acute pain service, addiction medicine, regional palliative care programs in Lethbridge or Red Deer, or other of the resident's design and subject to approval by the program director).

Academic Curriculum

  • Weekly Academic Half Days

  • Modified Summer Intensive Academic Half Days for introduction to discipline.

  • Virtual National Academic Half Days (4 sessions)

  • Protected Scholarly Project Time (1 block, plus 8-10 half days of protected time when no academic half day)

  • Advanced Practice Rounds, Educational Case Reviews, Journal Club (each is monthly)

  • Palliative Grand Rounds, Oncology Rounds

  • Faculty Development Retreats and Seminars

  • Resident Scholarly Project Luncheon

  • Resident Scholarly Project Final Presentations and Breakfast

  • Coaching on Teaching Skills and Presentation Skills

  • Preparing for Practice Academic Half Days

Scholarly Project

Residents are expected to undertake a scholarly research, quality assurance, or educational project relevant to adult Palliative Medicine.  The project is expected to be completed in within the residency year.

Assessment and Coaching

There is an array of evaluation and coaching provided to residents for clinical knowledge, attitudes and behavior, knowledge translation activities such as rounds presentations, resident teaching and scholarly project activity.  Longitudinal learning plans are developed and updated accordingly.



Successful completion of training with a final in-training evaluation report facilitates a Certificate of Added Competence (CAC) in Palliative Medicine from CFPC.  This allows practice of Palliative Medicine as a consultant and regional leader in palliative care.

Application Process

Applicants must apply through CaRMS. Please refer to the Prospective Enhanced Skills Applicants page for application information.

For queries regarding the search and selection process, please contact Enhanced Skills Program Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Program Coordinator: Luz Bolo - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Program Director: Dr. Laurie Lemieux, MD, CCFP(PC)