Canadian Serious Illness Conversations (CSIC)

The Canadian Serious Illness Conversations (CSIC) course is designed to provide health care professionals with the tools and knowledge needed to have compassionate and effective conversations with patients and their families dealing with serious illnesses. This course empowers health care professionals with a comprehensive understanding of the Serious Illness Conversation Guide©, developed by Ariadne Labs of Harvard Medical School.


Delivery modes

The Canadian Serious Illness Conversations (CSIC) course can be delivered online or by hybrid delivery.


Who is it for?

The CSIC course is ideal for any health care professional (e.g., primary care providers, nurses, social workers) who wants to use the Serious Illness Conversation Guide more effectively, and improve their ability to engage in meaningful and compassionate conversations.


Course features

      • Developed in partnership with leading Canadian organizations and experts
      • Evidence-based
      • Regularly updated and improved
      • Certificate of completion


Course structure

Online module: This two-part interactive, self-learning module can be completed at your own pace (approximately 1.5–2 hours of work). Learners are guided through using the Serious Illness Conversation Guide©.

Facilitated session: Following the online module, participate in a dynamic and interactive 1.5–2 hour online or in-person workshop led by a certified CSIC facilitator. This clinician workshop offers the opportunity to precise and refine communication skills through role-playing exercise.


Learning outcomes

      • Understand what serious illnesses are and what serious illness conversations involve.
      • Know when and why to use the guide, backed by evidence and rationale.
      • Recall how to use the guide, how the conversation should flow, and where to find extra help.



Interested in hosting a Canadian Serious Illness Conversations (CSIC) course for your organization? Reach out to our support team to get started.


Our partners

This course was developed in partnership with leading organizations across Canada including the Alberta Health Services, BC Centre for Palliative Care, Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University – School of Nursing, and Fraser Health.

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This material has been modified by Pallium Canada. The original content can be found at and is licensed by Ariadne Labs of Harvard Medical School under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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