2007.03 Hospice Palliative Care: An Integral Component of the Canadian Health Care System

December 20, 2013

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Whereas, Canadians have the right to quality end-of-life care; and

Whereas, There have been three reports, the 1995 report of The Special Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, entitled Of Life and Death Final Report; the 2000 update report entitled Quality End-Of-Life Care: The Right of Every Canadian; and the 2005 update report entitled Still Not There: Quality End-of- Life Care: A Progress Report; therefore, be it

Resolved, That the national council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada, in 87th annual national convention assembled, urge the federal government to take immediate action on the recommendations of Senator Sharon Carstairs’ Report, Still Not There: Quality End-of-Life Care: A Progress Report; and, be it further

Resolved, That the national council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada, in 87th annual national convention assembled, urge the federal government to make palliative and end-of-life care programs a top priority by taking immediate action on Recommendation 2 of Senator Sharon Carstairs’ Report, Still Not There: Quality End-of-Life Care: A Progress Reportby “restructuring of the health care system through implementing consistent norms of practice to eliminate disparities between different jurisdictions”; and, be it further

Resolved, That the national council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada, in 87th annual national convention assembled, encourage provincial councils to request their provincial and territorial governments to make palliative and end-of-life care programs a top priority by taking immediate action on Recommendation 2 of Senator Sharon Carstairs’ Report, Still Not There: Quality End-of-Life Care: A Progress Reportby “restructuring of the health care system through:
•  implementing consistent norms of practice to eliminate disparities between different jurisdictions
•  integrating services to make the transition between all health care settings including hospital, long-term care, home and hospice care seamless
•  enhancing homecare and pharmacare, including the provisions of respite care”

BRIEF: Hospice Palliative Care: An Integral Component of the Canadian Health Care System 
Canada needs an immediate standardized approach to hospice palliative care (HPC) that creates equal access to consistent, high quality end-of-life care. With an aging Canadian population there will be burgeoning demands on HPC programs and access to quality end-of-life care (Building on Values, p. xxviii).

Only a fraction of the people who die each year from a terminal illness have access to palliative care support or services.

HPC programs and services need to be integrated into the health care system as essential components that are available to all in need. HPC is a philosophy of integrated care for terminally ill people. It is designed to relieve suffering and pain while also meeting the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their loved ones.

The basic principles of HPC include:

  • pain management and symptom relief
  • psychological and spiritual well-being
  • care of the family and their loved ones

In HPC, life is the focus, with dying considered a natural process. The emphasis is on compassionately aiding patients and their loved ones as they cope with terminal illness.

In the report, Still Not There: Quality End-of-Life Care: A Progress Report, Senator Sharon Carstairs emphasized the need for:
•  ongoing education and training of health care professionals
•  continued research and its dissemination, including socio-economic research
•  the development and dissemination of best practices
•  support for family care givers
•  informing patients and caregivers of supports and services available to them
•  coordination and support across care settings as patients move from home to hospital to long-term care facilities and to hospices? (Still Not There, p. 2)

During the first World Hospice and Palliative Care Day in 2005, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Honorary Chairperson for the Global AIDS Alliance, noted during an interview, “Life has a beginning and a natural life should then have a proper end.” I think people make a mistake in thinking that the hospice movement is about dying. It is about living. “we want to see people leave life with dignity, peacefully, and with as much comfort as can be provided” (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization).

The federal government is urged to work in collaboration with the provinces and territories to ensure that all Canadians have access to hospice palliative care.

Bibliography
Carstairs, The Hon. Sharon, PC, Still Not There: Quality End-of-Life Care: A Progress Report, June 2005.

Ferris, Frank D., Balfour, Heather M, et al, “A Model to Guide Hospice Palliative Care: Based on National Principles and Norms of Practice,” Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, Ottawa, 2002.

Government of Canada, The Special Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, Of Life and Death Final Report, June 1995 <<http://www.parl.gc.ca/35/1/parlbus/commbus/senate/com-e/euth-e/rep-e/lad-e.htm>> (June 11, 2007).

Ibid., Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, Building on Values: The Future of Health Care in Canada, November 2002.

Ibid., Subcommittee to update: ?Of Life and Death? of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, Final Report, June 2000 <<http://www.parl.gc.ca/36/2/parlbus/commbus/senate/Com-e/upda-e/rep-e/repfinjun00-e.htm>> (June 11, 2007).

National Research Advisory Committee of the Canadian Palliative Care Association, ?Canadian Agenda for Research in Palliative Care,? March 31, 1999.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, “Global Attention Turns to Hospice and Palliative Care on October 8,” press release, October 6, 2005 <<http://www.nhpco.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4672>> October 6, 2005.

Tuns, Paul, “Senate euthanasia report met with relief,”The Interim, July 2000 <<http://www.theinterim.ca/2000/july/18euthanasia.html >> (June 11, 2007).

Requested Members’ Action:

  • For the national Education and Health chairperson to promote this resolution and the action plan in communiques
  • For the national Education and Health chairperson to monitor any new federal government initiatives on palliative care and inform our members