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Evidence to Improve Care

Palliative Care

Care for Adults With a Progressive, Life-Limiting Illness

Click below to see a list of brief quality statements and scroll down for more information.

Quality standards are sets of concise statements designed to help health care professionals easily and quickly know what care to provide, based on the best evidence.

See below for the quality statements and click for more detail.

Quality Statement 1: Identification and Assessment of Needs
People with a progressive, life-limiting illness have their palliative care needs identified early through a comprehensive and holistic assessment.

Quality Statement 2: Timely Access to Palliative Care Support
People with identified palliative care needs have access to palliative care support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Quality Statement 3: Advance Care Planning—Substitute Decision-Maker
People with a progressive, life-limiting illness know who their future substitute decision-maker is. They engage in ongoing communication with their substitute decision-maker about their wishes, values, and beliefs, so that the substitute decision-maker is empowered to participate in the health care consent process if required.

Quality Statement 4: Goals of Care Discussions and Consent
People with identified palliative care needs or their substitute decision-makers have discussions with their interdisciplinary health care team about their goals of care to help inform their health care decisions. These values-based discussions focus on ensuring an accurate understanding of both the illness and treatment options so the person or their substitute decision-maker has the information they need to give or refuse consent to treatment.

Quality Statement 5: Individualized, Person-Centred Care Plan
People with identified palliative care needs collaborate with their primary care provider and other health care professionals to develop an individualized, person-centred care plan that is reviewed and updated regularly.

Quality Statement 6: Management of Pain and Other Symptoms
People with identified palliative care needs have their pain and other symptoms managed effectively, in a timely manner.

Quality Statement 7: Psychosocial Aspects of Care
People with identified palliative care needs receive timely psychosocial support to address their mental, emotional, social, cultural, and spiritual needs.

Quality Statement 8: Education for Patients, Substitute Decision-Makers, Families, and Caregivers
People with a progressive, life-limiting illness, their future substitute decision-maker, their family, and their caregivers are offered education about palliative care and information about available resources and supports.

Quality Statement 9: Caregiver Support
Families and caregivers of people with identified palliative care needs are offered ongoing assessment of their needs, and are given access to resources, respite care, and grief and bereavement support, consistent with their preferences.

Quality Statement 10: Transitions in Care
People with identified palliative care needs experience seamless transitions in care that are coordinated effectively among settings and health care providers.

Quality Statement 11: Setting of Care and Place of Death
People with identified palliative care needs, their substitute decision-maker, their family, and their caregivers have ongoing discussions with their health care professionals about their preferred setting of care and place of death.

Quality Statement 12: Interdisciplinary Team-Based Care
People with identified palliative care needs receive integrated care from an interdisciplinary team, which includes volunteers.

Quality Statement 13: Education for Health Care Providers and Volunteers
People receive palliative care from health care providers and volunteers who possess the appropriate knowledge and skills to deliver high-quality palliative care.

Health Quality Ontario and the Ontario Palliative Care Network thank the following individuals for their generous, voluntary contributions of time and expertise to help create this quality standard:

Ahmed Jakda (co-chair)
Provincial Clinical Co-Lead
Ontario Palliative Care Network

Grand River Hospital

Melody Boyd (co-chair)
Operations Director
Mental Health Program and Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Program, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

Brenda Albuquerque-Boutilier
Lived Experience Advisor

Nancy Cooper
Director of Quality and Performance
Ontario Long-Term Care Association

Adjunct Professor
Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto

Deborah Evans
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Pain and Symptom Management Team, Juravinski Cancer Centre - Hamilton Health Sciences

Edward Fitzgibbon
Division of Palliative Care, University of Ottawa (The Ottawa Hospital)

Patty Greve
Registered Nurse, Outreach Nurse Coordinator
ARCH Connect, ARCH Hospice

Cathy Hecimovich
Past Chief Executive Officer
Central West Community Care Access Centre

Andrew Ignatieff
Lived Experience Advisor

Julia Johnston
Nurse Practitioner
Palliative Care, Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network

Jo-Anne Kershaw
Lived Experience Advisor

Ruth MacKay
Hospice Volunteer

Ramona Mahtani
Palliative Care, Mount Sinai Hospital, Sinai Health System

Debbie Maskell-Collins
Social Worker
Algoma District Cancer Program, Sault Area Hospital

Amy Montour
Regional Palliative Care Multi-Disciplinary Co-Lead, Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN, Cancer Care Ontario

Giulia-Anna Perri
Medical Director
Palliative and End of Life Care, Baycrest Health Sciences

Mary Alice Policchio
F.J. Davey Home Long-Term Care Facility

Katherine Ross
Nursing Supervisor
Carefor Health and Community Services

Declan Rowan
Family Physician, Regional Primary Care Lead
Petawawa Centennial Family Health Team, Champlain Regional Cancer Program, Cancer Care Ontario

Sarah Shallwani
Occupational Therapist
CBI Home Health

Kathy Simpson
Palliative Care Lead Physician
Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre

Pamela Simpson
Pharmacist, Manager
Robinson’s Pharmasave

Marcia Sokolowski
Co-Director of Ethics
Baycrest Health Sciences

Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine, University of Toronto

Peter Tanuseputro
Family Physician
Public Health and Preventative Medicine Physician

Bruyère Research Institute

Associate Scientist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Assistant Professor
Division of Palliative Care, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa

Judith Wahl
Barrister and Solicitor
Wahl Elder Law

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