Palliative and end-of-life care

Read this 2017 report about how palliative and end-of-life care is currently delivered for people with cancer, and what changes are needed for the best possible care

All Canadians with cancer should get the best possible palliative care when they need it and in the place of their choice. That care should address the individual physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and the people who care for them.

Palliative approach to care

To enable patients with cancer to experience that kind of care, the Canadian cancer care system needs to make two key changes:

  1. Health care administrators should adopt, develop and implement standards or practice guidelines to identify, assess and refer patients to palliative care services earlier in their cancer experience to ensure optimal quality of life.
  2. Provincial and territorial governments should ensure that adequate community-based multi-disciplinary palliative care services are available at home, in hospices and in long-term care facilities to ensure that palliative and end-of-life needs are met and to reduce reliance on acute care.

Palliative care matters

Early integration of palliative care for people with cancer leads not only to an improved quality of life—better symptom control, reduced anxiety and pain, and more support for emotional, social and spiritual needs—but also to greater satisfaction with care. In some cases, palliative care prolongs survival.

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