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The ICO (Catalan Institute of Oncology) is the referral oncologic center to 4 general hospitals, about 20 community hospitals, and more than 2.5 million people are attended (40% of the total population in Catalonia).

The cancer center (Institut Català d 'Oncologia L'Hospitalet, ICO L'H) consists of 4 different services: Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Clinical Hematology and Palliative Care Service. The Palliative Care Service consists of: Palliative Care Unit, Palliative Care Supportive Team and Palliative Care Outpatient. The cancer center is integrated into a high technology university general hospital, University Hospital of Bellvitge, in L'Hospitalet, Barcelona


The Palliative Care Service aims to prevent and alleviate the suffering of cancer patients and their families in order to achieve the best possible quality of life.

Even though many people still identify palliative care with the care of patients with incurable cancer, and with a limited life prognosis, the Palliative Care Service intervenes, more and more, early in the course of the disease and in cooperation with the other services of the ICO as a support team for the clinical services of the Bellvitge University Hospital.

The care model of the service is centered on the patient, of whom a multidimensional assessment is made: physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects and an interdisciplinary intervention: doctors, nurses, social work, psycho-oncology, physiotherapy, nutrition, etc. . Respect for patients' values and wishes is essential in the care process.

A deep functional relationship is maintained with the Psycho-oncology, Social Work and Physiotherapy units of the ICO Hospitalet, which makes it possible to guarantee the offer of truly interdisciplinary care.

Also, Palliative Care of the ICO Hospital, together with the Pain Clinic of the Bellvitge University Hospital (HUB), offer specialised assessment, treatment and follow-up for patients with oncological pain, especially in the most complex cases, both on an outpatient basis as well as during admission.

On the other hand, continuous care is also guaranteed with the socio-health facilities in the area, both with the support teams (PADES/UFISS) and with socio-health centers.


The Palliative Care Service offers three care devices:

  • The palliative care unit: hospitalization unit with 16 beds in individual rooms.
  • External consultation: offers ambulatory care with palliative care medical and nursing agendas, pain clinic, psycho-oncology and social work, together with intensive nursing activity in patient follow-up, telephone assistance and resource connection.
  • The support team (UFISS): offers integrated intervention with the respective oncology services in the Medical Oncology and Clinical Haematology hospitalisation units, as well as advice and support in the Clinical Services of the HUB

Palliative and Supportive Care


Apart from the care activity, the Palliative Care Service maintains a regular teaching activity for doctors (MIR), nurses and welcomes professionals for specific training stays. Thus, our staff team develops a stable clinical research activity, especially in the field of oncological pain, rare situations, and clinical ethics, collaborating in research in the field of psycho-oncology and social work.

Last update: January 2023


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