The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Conference Focuses on the Integration of Hospice Palliative Care Across all Settings of Care

OTTAWA, Oct. 31, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Integration of hospice palliative care would allow Canadians to receive good care when and where they need it, where living well until death is the goal of care. The theme of the 2013 Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Conference is Integrating Hospice Palliative Care into Health Care: Moving Forward. The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) believes that key aspects of hospice palliative care should be better integrated with ongoing health care, available to individuals and their families at appropriate times during an illness in the community setting they choose. From October 31st to November 3rd professionals from across Canada will gather in Ottawa to discuss emerging issues and innovative solutions to the delivery of care at the end of life.

"Integration is an important issue given our aging demographics in Canada and the prevalence of people living with chronic diseases, where the time of death cannot be predicted. Only 10% of Canadians die suddenly. The rest of us need care and support, but 65% of people who died last year were never designated as dying", said Sharon Baxter, Executive Director, CHPCA. "Getting referred to hospice palliative care programs and services should not be the trigger for a good death. Better integrated hospice palliative care along the disease trajectory that is available to Canadians in their homes, long-term care centres, communities, residential hospices and hospitals will be discussed by hospice palliative care professionals at the conference."

In Canada, only 16 to 30% of people receive palliative care support in the last weeks or months of their lives. Dying is part of living, and good planned care for people who have serious illnesses means living as well as possible until death. Most people will never need the complex intensive palliative care services provided by specialized teams in residential hospices or acute care hospitals. But everyone would benefit from having the palliative approach to care integrated with the care they are already receiving in the home, community or long-term care facility.

"Palliative care professionals need to be advocates for change at their local community level," added Sarah Walker, President of the CHPCA, "educating our colleagues on integration is a logical progression towards ensuring that Canadians are referred to palliative care earlier in the disease trajectory and that they have the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions about their end of life preferences."

Preliminary results of a Harris Decima survey of Canadians showed that 75% of Canadians would turn to their physician for information about hospice palliative care, with 91% agreeing that palliative care should be integrated for all people with chronic, life-limiting conditions. Integration of hospice palliative care engages individuals, their families and their health-care teams in planning for the care they want at different stages in their illness based on their own goals and values, and on a clear understanding of their prognosis and treatment options.

One initiative that is seeking to better integrate hospice palliative care is The Way Forward initiative. Launched in 2012, The Way Forward: an integrated palliative approach to care is a three year initiative seeking to change how we think about and approach aging, chronic, serious and life limiting illness and dying; and how we can extend the benefits of hospice palliative and end-of-life care, and advance care planning, to as many Canadians as possible. To learn more about The Way Forward, please visit

The 2013 Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Conference would not be possible without the assistance of its sponsors, including: Bayshore HealthCare, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Purdue Pharma and We Care Home Health Services.


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