Palliative care is more than providing comfort at end-of-life care. It includes pain and symptom management, caregiver support, psychological, cultural, emotional and spiritual support, as well as bereavement support for loved ones.
The Palliative Care Program, established in 2004, works toward ensuring that every person living in Ontario, when faced with a cancer diagnosis, has the opportunity to live his or her life fully. The aim is to ensure that patients receive optimal symptom management; are supported with dignity and respect throughout the course of their illness; and, in the face of incurable disease, have the opportunity to die in a setting of their choice.
To carry out this vision, the program:
Is working to improve the availability of data to better understand need for services, as well as availability and quality of existing services
- Facilitates knowledge exchange regarding palliative care best practice across the province
- Has established leaders accountable for advancing a quality agenda in palliative care in each regional cancer program
- Has established a Provincial Palliative Care Program with regional representation
- Has established Recommendations on the organization and delivery of palliative cancer care services in Ontario
- The recommendations apply to the regional cancer programs and inpatient hospitals delivering palliative cancer care treatment within Ontario, and address the following elements: types of providers and their roles, education of providers, service type/complexity, service volumes and quality improvement. The recommendations were developed through a review of the evidence and expert consensus. The model outlines three levels of care (primary, secondary and tertiary) recommended for the delivery of palliative cancer care treatment.
With support from a grant from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the program is increasing access to high-quality palliative services through a mentorship initiative that pairs primary health providers with palliative care specialists. The program has produced and disseminated evidence-based guidelines for practitioners to guide the management of important cancer symptoms – neuropathic pain and dyspnea.
Palliative Care Strategy
This document articulates the core components of Cancer Care Ontario’s palliative care strategy. The strategy will guide us, as one of the many organizations working to improve the quality of palliative care services for patients, in our efforts to improve the quality of palliative care for cancer patients, while ensuring congruence of activities with other provincial efforts including the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's End-of-Life Care Strategy. We acknowledge the valuable collaboration of the End-of-Life Care Strategy team in the development of this strategy.
The Provincial Palliative Care Integration Project (PPCIP)The Provincial Palliative Care Integration Project was developed to improve the quality and consistency of symptom screening and assessment, symptom management and access to coordinated palliative support for cancer patients.
Completed in March 2008, this project became the basis for building the Ontario Cancer Symptom Management Collaborative, which aims to promote earlier identification, documentation and communication of patients’ symptoms, optimal symptom management and collaborative care planning for patients.
For more information about the Provincial Palliative Care Integration Project, we invite you to read the final report.