Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems related to life-threatening illnesses, by preventing and relieving suffering through the management of pain and other physical, psychosocial, and spiritual issues.

The Department of Palliative Medicine in Selayang is the first specialist palliative care unit in Malaysia. The service started as a 4-bedded unit in December 2002 led by Dr Mary Cardosa, Consultant Anaesthetist and Pain Specialist, supported by a general physician, a medical officer and 4 nurses. In 2007, Dr Richard Lim returned from training as a Consultant Palliative Medicine Physician and took over as head of department. The service has since developed into a 14-bedded unit with a specialised clinical team of doctors, nurses and allied health staff.

The Palliative Care Unit in Hospital Selayang is a major subspecialty training site and continues to be a national hub for specialised clinical care, training, education and research in Palliative Medicine.