More Canadians will now benefit from paramedics trained in providing palliative care

July 11, 2018 (Toronto) – The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership) and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) have signed an agreement to provide funding and collaborate on the next phase of Paramedics and Palliative Care: Bringing Vital Services to Canadians.

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, primarily in their homes. The Partnership and CFHI will support provincial health authorities and organizations across the country to adopt and adapt best practices to improve access to palliative care.

Canadians requiring urgent palliative services in the provinces where the new programs will be implemented will be able to have paramedics provide this care to them in their home, potentially avoiding a trip to the hospital. Paramedics and Palliative Care is part of the ongoing efforts by the Partnership and CFHI to ensure high-quality health care is delivered to those in need, and to support innovative programs that make the delivery of vital health services more sustainable.

Paramedics and Palliative Care started in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (PEI) in 2013, as well as a similar, earlier initiative in Alberta. A review of the program found that having paramedics provide palliative support to people in their home reduced avoidable trips to emergency departments, and improved the experience, comfort and quality of life for people with cancer and other chronic and debilitating illnesses, as well as their families.

This initiative will run over the next four years. More details on the new programs will be released in fall 2018.

Background on Paramedics and Palliative Care: Bringing Vital Services to Canadians

Starting in 2012, the Partnership supported implementation of the Paramedics and Palliative Care in Nova Scotia and PEI. CFHI collaborated with the Alberta Health Services as well as the Nova Scotia and PEI programs to support their ongoing evaluation by incorporating a return on investment (ROI) analysis, completed in April 2017. The same year, CFHI also issued an Open Call for Innovations in Palliative and End-of-Life Care where the paramedics providing palliative care in the home programs were ranked highly.

The spread of this program demonstrates the efforts by both organizations to work with direct care providers to address gaps and challenges in the ongoing effort to ensure everyone benefits from best in class health care in Canada, regardless of where they live.