Highland Wood long-term care home in Haliburton. /File photo

A new approach to palliative care

By Chad Ingram

Published Jan. 22 2019

The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement is working with staff at Haliburton Highlands Health Services’ long-term care homes conducting a program known as EPAC which stands for Embedding Palliative Approaches to Care.

The program helps staff of long-term care facilities have conversations with residents who could benefit from a palliative approach to care a release from CFHI indicates ensuring their needs are met.

This includes identifying residents who would benefit from this approach discussing goals for care with those residents or their substitute decision-makers and developing care plans for those residents.

“By spreading this approach which originated in British Columbia CFHI aims to increase capacity and capability in the delivery of palliative and end-of-life care in long-term care” the release reads. “Among other benefits the program has been shown to avoid unnecessary trips to hospital in the last months of life.”

EPAC was instituted in nearly 50 long-term care homes beginning in 2012 and an expansion of the program in 22 homes across five provinces and one territory includes Hyland Crest and Highland Wood the HHHS-operating long-term care homes in Minden and Haliburton respectively.

“People approaching the end-of-life should have the opportunity to make informed decisions about their care and treatment in partnership with health-care professionals and with their families” the release reads. “Good communication between health-care professionals and people approaching the end-of-life and their families is essential and should be sensitive to personal preferences. Providing quality palliative care not only supports the needs of residents it empowers staff to care for dying residents and grieving families. It also allows homes to meet the expectations of families and the public that quality palliative care is an embedded component of the care available to all residents in long-term care.”