Partnership-funded projects promote accessible, high-quality palliative care for people with cancer

Action needed to meet patients' needs

Today the Canadian Cancer Society released its annual cancer statistics report focusing on care and support for dying cancer patients. The Society highlights that action is needed to ensure palliative care services are in place to meet the needs of patients now and in the future.

“About 75, 000 Canadians die every year from cancer. Palliative and end-of-life care are not systematically integrated into cancer care across the country, which can cause unnecessary distress at a difficult time,” said Dr. Margaret Fitch, Chair, Cancer Journey Advisory Group. “With a large-scale population health challenge as complex as controlling cancer, collectively we need to make headway on many fronts to have an impact. The Partnership’s work in this area examines ways of integrating palliative and end-of-life care into the cancer journey.”

Three examples of the Partnership’s work in this area include:

  • Palliative care and end-of-life care are the focus of one of four pan-Canadian networks selected by the Partnership to create information products that clinicians, researchers and policy-makers can use to assess whether terminally ill patients and family members receive appropriate care and support. This network, comprising a cross-section of experts, will develop and deliver materials beyond the scope of information currently available and will share learnings with the broader cancer control community.
  • The Partnership is also adapting and delivering the EPEC™-O (Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Oncology) curriculum for oncology professionals in Canada. This work is in collaboration with Northwestern University in Chicago, developer of the EPEC™-O curriculum. Pilot training sessions were held in March and May 2010, and the project has trained 40 to 45 health professionals in Canada as EPEC™-O trainers.
  • In 2004, the Canadian Virtual Hospice was established to address some of the gaps in palliative care in Canada. A key service offered on – the Partnership’s portal – Canadian Virtual Hospice provides meaningful  information and support in palliative and end-of-life care, as well as loss and grief support for patients, families and professionals. The Partnership and Canadian Virtual Hospice are working together to expand awareness of this online resource.

“The Canadian Virtual Hospice is grateful for the continuing support of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer,” says Dr. Harvey Max Chochinov, Chair, Canadian Virtual Hospice & Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care. “Their contribution allows us to provide personalized, evidence-based information and support to Canadians about palliative and end-of-life care, loss and grief.”