Palliative care has an interdisciplinary tradition and Canada is a leader in its research and practice. Yet even in Canada, a full interdisciplinary complement is often lacking, with psychosocial presence ranging from 0–67.4% depending on the discipline and region. We sought to examine the most notable gaps in care from the perspective of Canadian palliative professionals. Canadian directors of palliative care programs were surveyed with respect to interdisciplinary integration. Participants responded in writing or by phone interview. We operationalized reports of interdisciplinary professions as either “present” or “under/not-represented”. The Vaismoradi, Turunen, and Bondas’ procedure was used for content analysis. Our 14 participants consisted of physicians (85.7%), nurses (14.3%), and a social worker (7.1%) from Ontario (35.7%), British Columbia (14.3%), Alberta (14.3%), Quebec (14.3%), Nova Scotia (14.3%), and New Brunswick (7.1%). Psychology and social work were equally and most frequently reported as “under/not represented” (5/14, each). All participants reported the presence of medical professionals (physicians and nurses) and these groups were not reported as under/not represented. Spiritual care and others (e.g., rehabilitation and volunteers) were infrequently reported as “under/not represented”. Qualitative themes included Commonly Represented Disciplines, Quality of Multidisciplinary Collaboration, Commonly Under-Represented Disciplines, and Special Concern: Psychosocial Care. Similar to previous reports, we found that (1) psychology was under-represented yet highly valued and (2) despite social work’s relative high presence in care, our participants reported a higher need for more. These finding highlight those psychosocial gaps in care are most frequently noted by palliative care professionals, especially psychology and social work. We speculate on barriers and enablers to addressing this need.
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