Are conflicts to an organization what pain is to an organism?OBJECTIVES: To explore the similarities and the differences between pain and conflicts in palliative care settings, and to better understand the potential importance of conflicts in end of life quality of care.METHODS: Comparative and reflective methods focusing on how conflicts and pain are taken care of in health structures.RESULTS: Pain and conflicts present numerous similarities such as identity, typology, prevalence, warning function, economic and social costs, denial, occultation and hurdles to appropriate management. Differences also exist regarding pain – there are prevention programs on local and international levels; there are specific research and training programs; and there is also some social visibility. This does not yet exist on a larger scale regarding conflicts.CONCLUSION: Decision makers at clinical and public health levels should probably push to label conflicts as indicators of quality of care and develop appropriate health policy programs.