5,000+ paramedics in six provinces to provide palliative care in the home

New training for paramedics will increase access to palliative care in the home for patients and families, where they want it.

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership) and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI)  announced that Canadians living with cancer and other life-limiting conditions will gain access to urgent palliative care when they need it, and where they want it. This will be achieved through paramedics trained in providing palliative and end-of-life care in the home, in collaboration with other health professionals.

The two organizations will provide funding and support to train over 5,000 paramedics to provide palliative and end-of life care across Canada.  In Ontario, training will be through York Region Paramedic Services and Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Evidence shows that having paramedics provide palliative care and end-of-life care in the home improves comfort and quality of life for people with debilitating illnesses, as well as their families.  It also reduces the number of avoidable trips to the hospital and the use of health system resources, such as hospital beds and emergency departments and total time on a call for paramedics.

The Paramedics and Palliative Care: Bringing Vital Services to Canadians collaboration will run until spring 2022. This program is part of ongoing efforts by the Partnership and CFHI to improve Canada’s health system and ensure it responds to the needs of patients and families. It also supports the shared health priority of improving access to home and community care, including palliative and end-of-life care.

The two organizations will jointly provide up to $5.5 million over the next four years to expand access to paramedics trained in providing palliative and end-of-life care to people in their homes. CFHI and the Partnership will support provincial health authorities and organizations across the country to adopt and adapt best practices.

“We know that a majority of Canadians want access to palliative and end-of-life care in their homes,” said Jennifer Zelmer, President and CEO of CFHI. “That is why we are pleased to work together with the Partnership and the participating provincial health authorities and organizations to bring palliative and end-of-life care closer to home, responding to the preferences of patients and families and making better use of healthcare resources.”

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