Improving symptom management and palliative care

Person-centred initiatives put needs of people with cancer first

Person-centred care reflects what matters most to the person affected by cancer and their family. This means care that puts the needs of people with cancer first.

The Partnership has funded work across the country in two areas that support person-centred care: patient-reported outcomes and palliative care. New initiatives will build and expand on these successes and what we have learned to date.

PRO questionnaires improve management of patient’s symptoms

The Partnership’s past work helped eight provinces introduce Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROs) in their cancer centres. These standardized questionnaires gather information directly from patients on symptoms like fatigue, pain, anxiety and depression. Members of the team can then address those concerns during the visit and put care and support in place.

  • Spreading PROs across the country
    The Partnership is now supporting the introduction of PROs to three more provinces and territories: British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.
  • Enhancing care with additional PRO tools
    Additional funding will help Alberta and Quebec expand their use of PROs with digital tools such as tablets. This will allow patients to complete the questionnaires quickly and the health care team to access the information more easily. Additional questionnaires will gather information on more severe symptoms or symptoms specific to certain cancers.

Early palliative care provides better quality of life

Palliative care can significantly improve a cancer patient’s quality of life through better pain and symptom management and support for emotional and spiritual needs.

  • Training paramedics to provide palliative care
  • With funding from the Partnership, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island successfully trained 1,100 paramedics over the last several years to deliver palliative care in the home to help cancer patients avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital. The Partnership is now working with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) to support access to paramedics trained in providing palliative and end-of-life care to people in other parts of the country.
  • Integrating palliative care early in care
  • Many cancer patients who could benefit from palliative care don’t receive it as early as they should. A recent Partnership-funded project in Ontario worked with health care professionals in cancer centres and primary care to help them identify patients early and begin symptom management and planning for care with the patient. Building on that success, the Partnership will be working with Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador to implement a similar process.


Download the report

Annual Report 2017/18