Health Minister Announces the Way Forward: Moving Towards Community-Integrated Hospice Palliative Care in Canada Initiative

Today at the Hospice at May Court, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announced the three year initiative The Way Forward: Moving Towards Community-Integrated Hospice Palliative Care in Canada. Over the course of three years, the federal government will be making a commitment for one-time funding of $3 million to help support the development of new community-integrated palliative care models across Canada. This initiative of the Quality End-of-life Care Coalition of Canada (QELCCC) will be managed by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA).

“As the population ages, the prevalence of chronic and life-limiting illnesses will increase. In response, Canada must work towards a system of community-integrated hospice palliative care,” said Sharon Baxter, Executive Director of the CHPCA. “This funding will help to ensure that hospice palliative care is available at the community level for those Canadians who are dying, as well as their families. It will also ensure that it is easily accessible as part of the continuum of care.” Hospice palliative care integration also means that the palliative approach to care must be part of the treatment repertoire of any health care professional, supported by consultation or referral to a specialist palliative care team when necessary.

“We look forward to seeing how this initiative changes the way Canadians manage the journey of living with chronic and life-limiting illnesses to the end of life. This initiative will change the face of hospice palliative care for all Canadians from large cities to small urban communities. It is time to move forward,” added Nadine Henningsen, Advisory Committee member and representative for the Canadian Home Care Association on the QELCCC.

The initiative will engage all settings, sectors, professionals and governments in a dialogue regarding the implementation of community-integrated palliative and end-of-life care. Over the course of the Initiative, the QELCCC and the CHPCA will also encourage engagement and dialogue based upon sound evidence and promising practices. This will result in a Framework with targets and strategies that all stakeholders will have a hand in shaping, and that therefore reflect their needs and challenges, resulting in the ability to implement these strategies at all levels.

Canada’s population is aging and, combined with increasing numbers of chronic diseases, the demands for hospice palliative care will continue to grow. Seniors make up the fastest-growing age group. In 2009, Canada had 4.7 million persons aged 65 years or over, twice the number recorded in 1981. According to all the projection scenarios, the growth of this group would accelerate in the coming years. It is projected that by 2061, there will be between 11.9 million and 15.0 million persons aged 65 years or older.

For more information about The Way Forward: Moving Towards Community-Integrated Hospice Palliative Care in Canada Initiative, please visit www.hpcintegration.ca

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