Hospice Standards

“No ship gets to their destiny without the guidance of map, captain and compass. We cannot measure the great work we are doing without reliable standards to tell us how well we are doing, and what we can do differently or better.”

Monica do Coutto Monni
Near North Palliative Care Network

Hospice standards set the minimum required expectations that differentiate the operations, work and philosophy of hospice-based services from other health and/or community support services. They promote quality and consistency in hospices across the province.

The HPCO Hospice Standards Framework:

  • Has been developed specifically for Ontario hospices.
  • Can be purchased by organizations that hold membership or associate status with HPCO.
  • Acts as a guide to existing hospice services as well as organizations that are considering developing such services.
  • Forms the basis of HPCO’s Accreditation Program.

HPCO Hospice Standards have been developed and revised in consultation with member hospices and, wherever possible, they are based on evidence from the literature. Every attempt is made to ensure that these Standards also align with governing legislation, national models of care such as the CHPCA Norms of Practice and other provincial documents such as the HQO Quality Standard for Palliative Care.


HPCO Hospice Standards Framework

The modules within the framework include Organizational Oversight, Volunteer Management, Hospice Services, and a Glossary and Resource List. Each Hospice Service Standard addresses, at minimum:

  • Definition of the hospice service
  • Model of Care
  • Access
  • Assessment
  • Decision Making / Capacity
  • Care Planning
  • Care Delivery

For more information, or to purchase a copy of the current HPCO Hospice Standards document, please contact Selina Abetkoff, Standards & Accreditation Coordinator at 416.304.1477 x236 or by email through our Contact Us Form.

Click here for Hospice Standards Pricing effective April 1, 2023


Historical Context


Definition of Hospice (Ontario)

A hospice is a community-based organization (or a program offered by a multi-service organization) that provides support to individuals living with a progressive, life-limiting illness and their caregivers, family members, and friends.

Support is provided at no cost to the service recipient in a variety of settings – including where the individual lives or in a homelike setting.

The goal of hospice care is to enhance the quality of life of the individual and the well-being of anyone that is impacted by the person’s illness or death. Volunteers (both direct service and indirect service) and staff play an integral role in achieving that goal.

A hospice provides one or more services such as:

  • In-Home (Visiting) Hospice Volunteers
  • Hospice Residence
  • Day Hospice
  • Grief and Bereavement Support
  • Spiritual Care
  • Caregiver Support
  • Wellness Programs
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Children’s Programs
  • Community Palliative/Outreach/Shared Care Teams