Most Canadians prefer to die at home, but few Canadians (15%) receive palliative home care in their last month of life.1 Palliative care helps address the needs of people with life-limiting conditions to improve their quality of life and that of their families. By focusing on care that is guided by a patient’s values and best interests, palliative support leads to increased comfort, better quality-of-life and satisfaction with care received.

Paramedics and Palliative Care: Bringing Vital Services to Canadians

CFHI and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership) are partnering to fund and collaborate on Paramedics and Palliative Care: Bringing Vital Services to Canadians so that Canadians living with cancer and other life-limiting conditions will gain access to improved palliative care when they need it, and where they want it, through paramedics providing palliative and end-of-life care in collaboration with other health professionals.

More than 5000 paramedics, across six provinces, will be trained to provide patients with in-home support when they need emergency care at home, reducing avoidable use of acute care services such as hospital admissions and emergency department visits.

The organizations will jointly provide up to $5.5 million over 4 years (2018-22) to expand access across Canada.

Why Paramedics and Palliative Care?

In 2017, CFHI identified 26 innovations from the Call for Innovations in Palliative and End-of-Life Care. Eight were selected by an external merit review panel to present at CFHI’s 2017 CEO Forum and to receive a CFHI Innovation Award. Of the eight showcased at the CEO Forum, the Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home Program in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and Alberta Health Services Provincial Emergency Medical Services Palliative and End-of-Life Care Assess, Treat and Refer Program ranked as the highest innovations.

From 2012-2018, the Partnership supported implementation of the Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home Program in Nova Scotia and PEI. In 2016-2017, CFHI collaborated with Nova Scotia- PEI paramedics project, as well as a similar project in Alberta, to support ongoing program evaluation through return on investment (ROI) analysis. The evaluation found that having paramedics provide palliative and end-of-life care to people in their home reduced avoidable trips to emergency departments and improved the experience, comfort and quality of life for people with chronic and debilitating illnesses, as well as their families.

This program is part of ongoing efforts by the Partnership and CFHI to improve Canada’s health system and ensure it responds to the needs of patients and families. It also supports the shared health priority of improving access to home and community care, including palliative and end-of-life care.

Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

Last Updated: January 2019