After learning from CHPCA that “only 16% to 30% of Canadians who die currently have access to or receive hospice palliative and end-of-life care services-depending on where they live in Canada”, AHPCA asked you, our membership, how that statistic applies here in Alberta.
The results of the survey were interesting and informative, and a summary of the responses is attached. Many comments were also received; below we’ve compiled some of the recurring concerns:
75% of you believe that palliative care in Alberta is not equitable. While several themes emerged from the survey, the majority of responses indicate that there is not always enough palliative staff from all interdisciplinary professions including Health Care Aides, Registered Nurses, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Palliative Physicians.
In addition to identifying a need for adequate human resources to meet the holistic needs of palliative patients, your responses identified the need for appropriate space for palliative patients to receive care. You suggested more stand-alone hospices and reserved areas in acute and long- term facilities dedicated to palliative patients and their families. Your responses also emphasized the need for increased resources within the community to keep palliative patients well cared for in the most important space of all, their homes. The practical challenge of delivering palliative care to patients in rural and remote areas where the availability of staff, pharmacy and medical equipment are all limited, both in the home and care centre are of great concern.
Your thoughtful answers uncovered important issues and opportunities to grow such as the need to: develop skill and understanding in order to effectively meet the needs of marginalized populations who require palliative care; develop specialized palliative training for health care staff; use more comprehensive modalities of care outside the traditional medical model; build public awareness surrounding death and palliative care; and very importantly, gain government support for palliative care in Alberta.
AHPCA appreciates the time and care you put into answering this survey. Your views are important, and AHPCA will draw upon the valuable information gathered from you as we continue to engage community and government in the provision of quality Hospice Palliative Care.
Together, we can make a difference!