What CPAC is doing to support partners

Enhancing rapid and safe access to smoking cessation supports

The Partnership is funding and supporting several provinces in implementing a virtual model of care to improve cancer patients’ access to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and to provide virtual cessation counselling. We are working with the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency to ensure NRT and other medications to support smoking cessation can be mailed from community pharmacies to people with cancer in the province, and to ensure they receive an automatic referral for virtual cessation counselling by Smokers’ Helpline. We are also working with the Nova Scotia Health Authority to provide cancer centres in the province with funding to help patients experiencing financial hardship and who need access to NRT. The initiative will also see automatic referrals for virtual cessation counselling by the provincial smoker quit line.

The goal of these initiatives is to limit physical interaction during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring people with cancer seeking to quit smoking can avoid the unnecessary stresses and potential health consequences associated with in-person visits to the pharmacy and smoking cessation counselling services. This funding is in addition to the almost $2 million the Partnership has allocated to funding all provinces and territories to support accelerated adoption of smoking cessation in cancer systems by 2022.

Guidance for management of cancer surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Partnership helped lead development of a guidance document to support cancer surgery where appropriate and with available resources. The document reflects the expertise and advice of the executive leadership of the Canadian Network of Surgical Associations for Cancer Care, the Canadian Association of Provincial Cancer Agencies, and clinical cancer experts across the country. Recommendations from Canadian and international jurisdictions have been used to inform this document. Read the full guidance document.

Supporting radiotherapy treatment centres

The Partnership is working with radiation treatment facilities across the country on personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements for radiation therapists and treatment deviations caused by COVID. This collaboration is being done through the Canadian Partnership for Quality Radiotherapy (CPQR). All radiotherapy centres in Canada have been engaged to take part in this work to ensure staff in these facilities are protected during the pandemic, and those being treated receive timely and effective care.

Supporting people with cancer in Quebec being screened for COVID-19

The Partnership is supporting our partners in Quebec to expand services from Opal, a free mobile app that provides electronic health screening. The Opal team has been using these features at the McGill University Health Centre for several weeks now and our funding will extend their use to other health centres across Quebec. The expanded features will promote and facilitate social distancing by allowing patients to register for their appointments from their mobile phones and receive a notification when their cancer care team is ready to see them. The app will allow for parking lot appointment check-in which will reduce the number of patients in the waiting room. Patients will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms via Opal and their results will be immediately available to their cancer care team and stored in their electronic medical records. Virtual consultations will be securely integrated into Opal, to minimize unnecessary patient/healthcare professional contact within the hospital and to facilitate telehealth. In addition to these features, COVID-19 informational and supportive care resources, specific to people with cancer, will be integrated into the app to help patients cope with the anxiety brought on by the current pandemic. If you are affected by cancer and live in Quebec, learn more and download the Opal app.

Increasing support for the elderly in St. John’s through paramedics trained in providing palliative care

The Partnership is providing funding for four additional advanced care paramedics in the St. John’s, Newfoundland Metro region. These additional paramedics will provide greater access to palliative care for people in their home or long-term care home, with an emphasis on elderly people who are at greater risk of dying from COVID-19. The initiative aims to decrease resources used in hospitals in the region, and to ensure emergency rooms are available as the province continues its response to COVID-19. This initiative is an extension of a program launched by the Partnership and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) in 2019 to have over 5,000 paramedics in six provinces trained to provide palliative care to people in the home.

Supporting cancer care during the pandemic for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis

The Partnership is providing funding and supports, specific to cancer care and COVID-19, for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis across Canada. This includes:

  • Funding and supporting Ontario Health in its collaboration with the Nunavut government to help patients who are traveling to the Ontario for cancer care and require financial assistance for food and lodging, while they are away from their home and family.
  • Funding and supporting Cancer Care Manitoba which is working with the Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit, Nunavut to provide travel-related supports to patients from the western region of the territory who are accessing cancer care in Manitoba.
  • Providing information technology (IT) supports in the Northwest Territories to promote virtual collaboration between patients and cancer care providers.
  • Funding and supporting Whitehorse General Hospital in Yukon for travel related supports for patients who are accessing care in British Columbia.