Canadians want and need high-quality palliative care
One measure of a society’s commitment to its most vulnerable citizens is how the society helps people through the difficult consequences of life-limiting illnesses. High-quality palliative care provides the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual support people and their families or caregivers need as they navigate some of the most challenging events of their lives. Palliative care helps people live more fully, and more comfortably – even through the stages of advanced disease.
Yet, although the number of Canadians suffering from life-limiting illnesses continues to increase, most do not receive any palliative, hospice, or end-of-life care. According to available data in a 2018 report called Access to Palliative Care in Canada, 75 per cent of Canadians want to die at home, but only 15 per cent were able to do so supported by
home palliative care.1 This report also found that 89 per cent of Canadians could benefit from palliative care in their last year of life. But, at present, our health system does not have sufficient numbers of people with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required to provide people and their families or caregivers with palliative care whenever and wherever they need it.
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