The Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus describes the work of the council as:
- Art. 152 — The Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers shows the solicitude of the Church for the sick by helping those who serve the sick and suffering, so that their apostolate of mercy may ever more effectively respond to people’s needs.
- Art. 153 — § 1. The Council is to spread the Church’s teaching on the spiritual and moral aspects of illness as well as the meaning of human suffering .
Its tasks also include coordinating the activities of different dicasteries of the Roman Curia as they relate to health care. The Pontifical Council explains and defends the teachings of the Church on health issues. The Council also follows and studies programs and initiatives of health care policy at both international and national levels, with the goal of extracting its relevance and implications for the pastoral care of the Church.
The office of President was left vacant following the death of Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski in July 2016. Monsignor
Jean-Marie Musivi Mupendawatu was the last Secretary of the council. The council was suppressed effective 1 January 2017 with the creation of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development with Cardinal Turkson as the inaugural prefect.