Canadian Medical Association Moves Forward on End-of-Life Care

OTTAWA, Aug. 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) and its over 3,000 professional members support the multiple resolutions passed at the Canadian Medical Association's (CMA) Annual General Council around end-of-life care and Advance Care Planning and look forward to their renewed commitment to advancing hospice palliative care in Canada.

All resolutions around end-of-life care were passed by CMA members, these included: support for the integration of the palliative approach into the management of life-limiting chronic disease; assisting physicians in helping patients and families understand and develop advance care plans; and requesting that all Canadian faculties of medicine create a curriculum for training in palliative care suitable for physicians to all stages of their medical education.

"Physicians need to play an active role in end-of-life care strategy, and encourage their patients to start having end-of-life conversations earlier in the disease trajectory. I am glad that the CMA aims to implement palliative care education into all faculties of medicine to further educate young physicians," said Dr. Srini Chary, Consulting Physician, Palliative Care Services, Alberta Health Services and member of the CMA and CHPCA.

This follows the release of the CMA Annual Report Card earlier this week where it was revealed that most individuals would like to see the implementation of a national healthcare strategy for seniors. Ninety-three per cent of those polled also indicated that the strategy would need to address care in homes, hospitals, hospices and long-term care facilities.

"Our population is aging. There is really no other way to put it," stated Sharon Baxter, Executive Director of the CHPCA, "we are optimistic that this past week's strategic session, CMA report card and resolutions will increase the CMA's involvement in end-of-life care strategy and policy development at both the Federal and Provincial level."

Ms. Baxter was also invited to present to physicians on August 18th, where she discussed Advance Care Planning in Canada and the need for physicians to start having these conversations with patients earlier in the disease trajectory. Advance Care Planning is a process of reflection and communication, a time to reflect on values and wishes, and to let others know future health and personal care preferences in the event that one becomes incapable of consenting to or refusing treatment

Monday's strategic session at the CMA's Annual General Council focused on palliative and end-of-life care. Hospice palliative care experts from across Canada were invited to share their expertise and answer physicians' questions. The panel included retired Senator and hospice palliative care champion the Honorable Sharon Carstairs. Senator Carstairs gave an emotional and heartfelt speech, discussing how palliative care could be better integrated into medical education. She advocated for adopting palliative care medicine as a recognized specialty and increasing family caregiver benefits at the federal level. The panel of experts also included Dr. David Roy, Dr. Paul Boucher and Dr. Eric Wasylenko.

About the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association

The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) is the national voice for hospice palliative care in Canada. It is a bilingual, national charitable non-profit association whose mission is the pursuit of excellence in care for persons approaching death so that the burdens of suffering, loneliness and grief are lessened.


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