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Critically ill Canadians are falling through the cracks when it comes to palliative care. Canada’s patchwork of palliative care services is costly and inconsistent, which is bad for patients and for the sustainability of our healthcare system. Find out more in the report entitled: Right to Care: Palliative care for all Canadians.
What is palliative care?@(Model.HeadingTag)>
Palliative care focuses on the quality of life of people who have a progressive, life-altering illness. It includes pain and symptoms management, skilled psychosocial, emotional and spiritual support and comfortable living conditions with the appropriate level of care – at home, in hospice, in hospital or in any other setting of the person’s choice.
Palliative care is a critical component of the cancer continuum of care and healthcare overall. Palliative care should be provided early, introduced progressively and with other therapies, using a multidisciplinary team approach. End-of-life care is a component of palliative care that focuses on the specific needs of someone who is dying.
improves quality of life and satisfaction with care for people with cancer and their family caregivers
means less use of hospital emergency departments at the end of life
increases the likelihood that people with cancer will die in a setting of their choice
Palliative care has been shown to be particularly effective when delivered early, before the last stages of life. However, the quality and availability of palliative care differs between and within provinces and territories. Accessibility and availability of care is not consistent even in large cities and can be even scarcer in rural and remote areas. Even when palliative care services are available, not all Canadians know about these services or how to access them.
While palliative care is often thought of as an option that is only available for people who are nearing the end of their life, palliative care can and should be delivered throughout the cancer journey.
Palliative care education and training for health care providers and caregivers
Measures to support palliative care providers and caregivers
Research and the collection of data on palliative care
The Canadian Cancer Society calls on provincial and territorial governments to enact legislation to develop frameworks in their respective jurisdiction to enhance the delivery of palliative care.
Canadians should have access to affordable, high-quality palliative care, regardless of where they live and where they choose to receive care.
The Canadian Cancer Society recognizes that facing life-threatening illness, especially in relation to pain and suffering, can cause great concern and severe hardship for people. We promote and support the need for improved development and delivery of early, active, competent and compassionate palliative care, which includes: expert pain management; skilled psychosocial, emotional and spiritual support; and comfortable living conditions with the appropriate level of care – whether at home, in a hospital or any other settings of the person’s choice. The Canadian Cancer Society believes that all Canadians should be able to choose the best care for them throughout their cancer journey.
CCS’s efforts remain focused on ensuring that people dying from cancer patients spend their final days with dignity, free of pain and in a setting of their choice.