Article courtesy of Savoula Stylianou, Communications and Events Coordinator, SEAMO

As part of the FLA OHT’s ongoing commitment to working toward a more efficient, integrated and equitable health-care model, the Palliative Care Partnership is striving to have a connected, community-based program for palliative care that will:  enable people to remain in their homes and communities; be accessible 24/7 with a palliative care resource nurse who will be a single point of contact for patients, families and other healthcare providers; and support providers with the training and tools necessary.

Members of the FLA-OHT Palliative Care Partnership main group and working group.

Photo: Members of the Palliative Care Partnership main group and working group. Included in the photo are: Mike Bell, Kim Sunstrum, Kiowa (Tsi Kanonhkhwatsheriyo), Josee, Patti Harvey, Savoula Stylianou, Samantha Lavallée, Anastassiya Khrokova, Marg Alden, Robyn Brown, Tom Greening, Stefany Kawka, Rylan Egan, Juli Heney, Nancy Lee Brown, Dionne Nolan (Zoogipon Igwe), Janeta Kobes, Ashley Miller, Cynthia Beach and Leonie Herx. Missing are: Justyna Nowak, Anna Voeuk, Marc Goudie, Cheryl Knott, Madison Robertson, Adrienne Selbie, Catherine Galbraith, Laurie French and Allan Prowse.

“I am thrilled with what the Palliative Care Partnership has accomplished thus far in improving access to palliative care in the FLA region and I look forward to continuing our work to reach a standardized and equitable approach to palliative health care in the region,” Palliative Care Partnership Co-Lead Dr. Leonie Herx says. “In the future, we hope to develop formalized palliative care programming for incarcerated individuals, continue to offer palliative services through the Integrated Care Hub, keep providing education for healthcare professionals in the palliative care space and improve access to care for underserved populations.”

In exciting news, the Palliative Care business proposal to make this model a reality was endorsed by the FLA OHT Transitional Leadership Council in February 2022 and was submitted to Ontario Health and the Ministry of Health for approval. This proposal looks to create a Regional Specialist Palliative Care Team and find much-needed capacity for palliative care beds in the region. Stay tuned for upcoming details.

Our Palliative Care Partnership has been working extremely hard across a number of project sub-groups to better serve populations in need. These groups have been working on using quality improvement tools and population health management segmentation to change ideas to improve palliative care in the FLA region. Check out a few of their updates below:

Under-serviced and vulnerable population strategies

  • Kingston Community Health Centre partnered with Queen’s Division of Palliative Medicine to provide outreach support

  • New pathways created for patients to access support at the Integrated Care Hub in Kingston

  • Local shelter case managers to explore palliative care needs within local shelter system

  • Discussions ongoing on how to provide care to rural and remote communities

  • Grant received to continue work on improving access to vulnerable populations

Indigenous-focused strategies

  • Working on Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action 22 to “…recognize the value of Indigenous healing practices…”

  • Completed rapid literature review of Indigenous approaches to patient intake

  • Developed database of Indigenous palliative care resources

  • Engaged with Indigenous communities on community needs

  • Promoted cultural safety training among all partner organizations

Primary care palliative care capacity building

  • Professional development courses offered on a regular basis to increase knowledge and comfort in providing generalist palliative care

  • Pilot project underway to develop a regional process for early identification of patients with palliative care needs in primary care and provide embedded specialist palliative consultation in family practice clinic settings

  • Successfully matched 17 patients to date previously unattached to a primary care provider for palliative care needs

Digital projects

  • Shared Digital Palliative Care Plan to reach goal of standardizing way of identifying, communicating and coordinating care for people with palliative care needs

  • Developing a digitized Caregiver Voices survey to inform Palliative Care Partnership on potential gaps and future directions

 To keep updated on the work of the Palliative Care Partnership, please visit our webpage on the FLA OHT website.