Building consensus on palliative care supports

January / February 2017   Comments

Increasingly, Canadians are talking about the need for better access to quality palliative care that is close to home and meets their family’s unique needs. Released by Palliative Care Matters, a recent Ipsos survey found that one in four Canadians has cared for or is actively caring for someone who is at the end of life. Among the 1,540 people polled, 86 per cent want to see national standards developed and implemented by the federal government.

Along with our Canadian Network of Nursing Specialties member the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Nurses Group (CHPCNG), CNA issued a joint position statement with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association in 2015 on the fundamental role of nurses in a palliative approach to care. In it, the three groups affirm their support for the central aim of this approach: to help people live well until death, across the lifespan, in all practice settings.

CNA is among the many organizations discussing the need for enhanced palliative care and calling on federal, provincial and territorial governments to include palliative care in the upcoming health accord negotiations.

In November, I was pleased to join CNA board member and CHPCNG past president Judy Simpson at the Palliative Care Matters Consensus Development Conference in Ottawa. This unique, pan-Canadian event brought together experts and a lay panel, who considered six important questions as they developed a consensus statement:

  1. What are the essential elements of an integrated and coordinated palliative care program that will help to improve access to quality care?
  2. Do public health awareness campaigns effectively improve awareness and quality of palliative care?
  3. What are the essential components of quality palliative home care services?
  4. What resources are needed to ensure adequate education, training and mentorship for caregivers, nurses, health-care assistants and physicians?
  5. What have strategic frameworks and plans accomplished for palliative care when adopted by other countries?
  6. Does measuring indicators that address desired outcomes improve the quality of and access to palliative care?

The website provides a wealth of background information along with the consensus statement containing 20 recommendations.

We at CNA look forward to working with our various partners to increase access to and supports for palliative care for all Canadians.

Anne Sutherland Boal, RN, BA, MHSA

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