This document establishes a minimum national standard for palliative care in Canada, and it seeks to direct consistent implementation and measurement of palliative care competencies in practice.
It serves as a guiding document for jurisdictions that lack an explicit set of palliative care competencies, and also as high-level guidance for provinces that have built their own competency frameworks.
The competency framework has been written with several readers in mind:
Individuals, managers, and human resources personnel will use it to fill skills gaps and guide hiring practices.
Educators will use it to identify minimum standards for palliative care competencies, weave the development of essential skills into existing curricula, or build new curricula to teach the competencies.
National accreditation and regulatory agencies will use it as a guide for establishing minimum national standards in palliative care.
Canadians want and deserve highly skilled providers able to address their palliative care needs – whenever and wherever those skills are required, be it in hospital, hospice, or in the home.
Developing competency across Canada is a long-term exercise that requires deep and sustained commitments from all parties who contribute to a highly skilled workforce. The good news is that the will exists to build palliative care capacity and competency across the country. As one indication, some provincial jurisdictions have made significant progress developing their own competency frameworks, and more provinces and territories are coming on board every year.
The Partnership and Health Canada, working with an extensive network of palliative care experts and stakeholders, have developed the Canadian Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Competency Framework as one show of our commitment to create a uniform standard of high-quality palliative care across Canada. We expect this framework to guide all stakeholders in the development of a highly skilled workforce.
The competencies in this framework are by no means the end of our palliative care journey. Instead, they will serve as the foundation on which national professional organizations, and universities and colleges can build comprehensive palliative care programs for the professional communities they serve. They will also serve as the foundation for employment and quality improvement standards.
Keeping this publication up to date
Health Canada, the Partnership and its partners have designed this document as a high-level guide that applies to all jurisdictions. As the practice of palliative and end-of-life care changes across Canada, this publication will evolve as necessary in the future to meet the needs of those who use it and to reflect the other members of the interdisciplinary team, such as spiritual care, physio- and occupational therapy, volunteer coordinators, and others.