Other Initiatives

Palliative Care: Embracing life, at every moment.

Palliative Care:

Embracing life, at every moment.


2023 August

<p></p> <p><strong>Did you know that palliative care in North America began in Montreal?</strong> </p> <p></p>

Did you know that palliative care in North America began in Montreal?

Dr. Balfour Mount, a McGill surgical oncologist, coined the term palliative care in introducing the principles of hospice care as practiced at St. Christopher’s Hospice in London, England. He opened the first hospital-based palliative care service at Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital in 1975. Recognized globally as the founding father of this field, his efforts initiated a half century of innovation that transformed end of life care. At that time, Dr. Mount and the multidisciplinary team demonstrated that the sickest patients in the health care system could receive excellent control of pain and other symptoms enabling an experience of enhanced quality of life. The goal of the MUHC Foundation is to support Dr. Mount’s legacy by enabling Palliative Care at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).


Money raised to date

$ 0

$ 0
$ 2,000,000



Palliative care is about living well at all stages of the illness journey including the end of life.

Palliative care aims to ensure that people of any age and at any stage of serious illness have the highest possible quality of life and receive care that reflects what matters most to them. Research and clinical care guidelines suggest that palliative care should be integrated early into serious illness care, alongside treatments to cure or control disease. At the MUHC, we believe that every moment of one’s life matters. Our multidisciplinary, whole-person care reflects this practice.



The MUHC’s palliative care team offers expert-led and compassion-guided support to patients at every stage of illness.

  1. By providing multidisciplinary, whole-person care that addresses various forms of suffering: from physical, social, and psychological to existential and spiritual.

    The MUHC’s interdisciplinary palliative care program brings the collective expertise of physicians, nurses, social workers, volunteers and others to holistically address the multiple forms of suffering experienced by those facing serious illness and to promote healing and well-being amidst the challenges of diagnosis, treatment, and beyond.

  2. By studying and improving the experience of serious illness through the Centre for Relationships in Serious Illness (CERES).

    Taking inspiration from Ceres, the Roman Goddess of the harvest and of motherly love, the CERES initiative emphasizes Dr. Mount’s core belief that relationships are at the heart of palliative care. MUHC’s palliative care specialists will examine and improve relationships between patients and their care team and help them strengthen already-existing relationships.

  3. By encouraging patients to focus on the goals and people that matter most to them.

    Palliative care is about so much more than preparing for the end of life. The MUHC’s palliative care is centred on the principle that we can experience fulfillment at every life stage. This means ensuring that every lived moment is as rich as possible and reflects peoples’ values and goals.

“What we’re trying to do in palliative care, and all medical care, is establish healing connections to be experienced by those who are ill or dying and their families.”

Dr. Balfour Mount

Founding Director of the Royal Victoria Hospital Palliative Care Service

“Palliative care is now recognized globally as a critical component of providing the best possible care to people of any age and at any stage of serious illness. A whole-person approach to care ensures the highest possible quality of life and well-being and can even foster an experience of growth for the patient through and beyond treatment.”

Dr. Justin Sanders

Director of Palliative Care at the MUHC

Help us honour Dr. Mount and Montreal’s legacy of palliative care.

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