OTTAWA, Jan. 23, 2014 /CNW/ - Nearly every Canadian believes that
hospice palliative and end-of-life care are critical and should be
available to anyone in need, but most do not know what services are
available - or how to access them. A new Harris/Decima survey reveals
that while the vast majority of Canadians support hospice palliative
care, and integrating services as early as possible for people who are
critically ill or aging, there remain many barriers to connecting
people with those programs and services across the country.1
"We know that introducing a broad range of palliative services earlier
to people who are very ill, aging, or frail improves quality of life
for people to live well until they die. It also provides a sense of
control and reduces stress for the family," says Sharon Baxter,
Executive Director, Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. "But
most Canadians don't know what services are available - or that these
services are available to people living at home. Given we are all
living longer, often with chronic illness, this needs to change."
The Harris/Decima survey was conducted for The Way Forward, a three year nation-wide initiative that is working with healthcare
professionals and governments to integrate high quality hospice
palliative care earlier into the ongoing care of Canadians with serious
"Our Government understands the very difficult challenges faced by
Canadian families when they are caring for aging parents and other
loved ones who need palliative care," says the Honourable Rona Ambrose,
Minister of Health. "Supporting The Way Forward initiative will help to deliver palliative care in a range of settings,
by a variety of providers, while providing services in a cost-effective
and sustainable way."
The Harris/Decima survey identified five main findings:
Support for palliative care: There is nearly unanimous support among Canadians for hospice
palliative care (96%), with the vast majority believing it has a
positive impact in reducing stress and the burden on the family (93%)
and improving quality of life (94%).
A team approach early on: Most Canadians (87%) believe that a palliative approach to care should
be available early on in the course of a disease and most (94%) believe
it should include all of their care providers - whether a family
physician and nurse, a disease specialist and other health
A desire for choice: Nearly all Canadians (93%) believe palliative care services should be
available in the setting of their choice (e.g. home, long-term care,
hospital, etc.) but less than half (49%) are aware they can access
these services outside of a hospital, hospice or facility and currently
relatively few (21%) report having any personal experience with
palliative care services.
A disconnect between belief and action: Although nearly all Canadians (96%) believe it is important to have a
conversation with loved ones about their wishes for care, not many
(34%) have actually had a discussion, and only 13% have completed an
Advance Care Plan to communicate their wishes.
Open to guidance for early conversations: The majority of Canadians (73%) would like to get more information from
their doctors so that they can plan and begin these important
conversations. And most Canadians (80%) also feel these conversations
should start when they are healthy or when they are diagnosed with a
"It's clear that we need to better integrate palliative care services in
the places where people want to live and die - and we also need to
encourage patients, families and health care teams to talk about goals
of care so more Canadians get the care want and deserve up to the end
of life," says Nadine Henningsen, Executive Director, Canadian Homecare
Tools and resources to help people learn more about palliative and
end-of-life care services and to start the conversation with a loved
one can be found at the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association
website (www.chpca.net), as well as through Speak Up: Start the Conversation about End-of-life Care (www.advancecareplanning.ca). Information about work underway to integrate the palliative approach
to care through The Way Forward initiative can be found at www.hpcintegration.ca.
The Way Forward: an integrated palliative approach to care
Launched in 2012, this three-year initiative funded by the Government of
Canada seeks to change how Canada thinks about and approaches aging,
chronic, serious and life limiting illness and dying; and how to extend
the benefits of hospice palliative and end-of-life care, and advance
care planning, to as many Canadians as possible. Tapping into
palliative care knowledge and expertise across Canada, The Way Forward is focused on fostering collaboration between provincial and
territorial governments, regional health authorities, agencies,
clinicians and service providers, among others to improve quality of
life, reduce emergency visits and hospitalizations, and make more
effective use of health system resources.
A quantitative online research survey of 2,976 Canadian adults.
Completed using Harris/Decima's proprietary online
panel so is precluded from reporting a margin of error. Data were
collected between July 5 and August 7 2013. Survey
data were weighted using 2011 Census to reflect general population
(gender, age and region).
Image with caption: "Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CNW Group/Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140123_C4571_PHOTO_EN_35774.jpg
SOURCE: Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association
For further information:
To arrange an interview about the survey results, The Way Forward and palliative and end-of-life
care services, please contact: Vanessa Schwarz, Communications Officer, Canadian Hospice
Palliative Care Association, 613-241-3663 ext 229, firstname.lastname@example.org.