House of Commons Recognizes the Urgent Need for National Direction in Palliative Care through the Adoption of Motion M-456

OTTAWA, June 13, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Last week, the House of Commons passed Motion M-456, recognizing that there is a need for national strategies, frameworks and blueprints in hospice palliative and end-of-life care. The motion also recognizes the need to support caregivers, improve the consistency of home care, and encourage Canadians to plan for end of life by starting conversations about advance care planning.

"The passing of this bill by all parties is indicative of the strong need of support for hospice palliative and end-of-life care in Canada. This important motion recognizes the need for a pan Canadian strategy that considers support for caregivers, "at home" and hospice care and encourages advanced care planning," stated Russell Williams, Chair of the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association Champion's Council.

As the hospice palliative care field has grown, it has also evolved to include numerous people from outside our community offering to lend their voice and be champions for the cause. In continuing to show leadership on this issue and in helping to change the face of hospice palliative care in Canada, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association launched its Champion's Council in the fall of 2010. The Champion's Council is comprised of a group of key leaders in Canada who have offered to advance the profile of hospice palliative care across the country. They include industry leaders and current/retired MPs and Senators.

"Caregiving and end-of-life care impact our members daily both personally and in the workplace" said Bill Greenhalgh, CEO of the Human Resources Professionals Association. "At least one third have been caregivers for family members at some point, so they understand the huge life stresses that trying to balance work and the need for sometimes unpredictable care time can create. Employees in their organizations are also dealing, increasingly, with the same issues which inevitably result in stress leave, short-term disability and higher rates of absenteeism. They will very much welcome the passage of this motion," added Greenhalgh.

Currently, only 16-30% of Canadians have access to high quality hospice palliative and end-of-life care.[i] The majority of Canadians receive their end of life care though primary care and we can do much better to bring the palliative approach to community settings. Furthermore, a recent Harris Decima survey found that the majority of Canadians (73%) feel that the provincial governments place too little priority on this end-of-life care, including over one-third (35%) who feel that it is far too little.[ii] The study also found that support for hospice palliative care amongst Canadians is almost unanimous, with the vast majority of Canadians (96%) being supportive, including 66% who are very supportive.[iii]

The full motion reads as follows: That, in the opinion of the House, the government should establish a Pan-Canadian Palliative and End-of-life Care Strategy by working with provinces and territories on a flexible, integrated model of palliative care that: (a) takes into account the geographic, regional, and cultural diversity of urban and rural Canada; (b) respects the cultural, spiritual and familial needs of Canada's First Nation, Inuit and Métis people; and (c) has the goal of (i) ensuring all Canadians have access to high quality home-based and hospice palliative end-of-life care, (ii) providing more support for caregivers, (iii) improving the quality and consistency of home and hospice palliative end-of-life care in Canada, (iv) encouraging Canadians to discuss and plan for end-of-life care.

[i] Canadian Institute for Health Information, Health Care Use at the End of Life in Western Canada. Ottawa: CIHI.
[ii] A quantitative online research survey of 2,976 Canadian adults. Completed using Harris/Decima's proprietary online panel so is precluded from reporting a margin of error. Data were collected between July 5 and August 7 2013. Survey data were weighted using 2011 Census to reflect general population (gender, age and region). 49
[iii] Ibid. 46