Palliative care training improves care for Islanders

(l-r) Dr. Janet Baker; Minister James Aylward; Dr. David Henderson; Dr. Mireille Lecours, and Jeff Moat

A total of 141 health care professionals from across Prince Edward Island have received training in palliative care increasing their ability to provide better care and support to Islanders and their families.

Health care providers took part in two days of training on Learning Essential Approaches to Palliative Care (LEAP) that provides in-depth learning on essential skills and competencies of palliative care during a palliative care conference in Summerside recently. The training promotes teamwork and collaboration among various health care professionals who provide care to patients with life-limiting illnesses, such as nurses, physicians, pharmacists, social workers, home care professionals, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, spiritual care providers and other allied health professionals. 

“For patients and families needing palliative care services, it is comforting to know that more health care providers have a better understanding of the health needs of those facing progressive life-limiting illnesses,” said Minister of Health and Wellness James Aylward. “It is very important that we continue to provide professional development to our health care providers to ensure Islanders receive the best care available,”

Pallium Canada, a national non-profit organization focused on improving the quality and accessibility of palliative care in Canada, partnered with Health PEI to deliver its training.  Dr. Mireille Lecours, Provincial Palliative Care Medical Consultant with Health PEI, recognized the need to offer standardized and accredited training to as many providers as possible.
“As we work toward making palliative care services more available to Islanders, we need to increase the knowledge of our health care providers including physicians and front-line staff of the special care required for our palliative care patients,” said Dr. Lecours.

“Pallium was thrilled that Health PEI identified its annual conference as an opportunity to train a large contingent of health care professionals and increase their comfort and confidence in providing high-quality palliative care,” said Jeffrey Moat, Chief Executive Officer at Pallium Canada. “LEAP has been shown to increase learners’ knowledge, comfort, and attitudes toward palliative care resulting in better care for patients and their families."

Palliative care in PEI is co-ordinated through the Provincial Integrated Palliative Care program, which provides comfort and support for clients to live fully until they reach the end of their lives.

Media contact:
Carmel Turpin
Senior Communications Officer
Health PEI



Provincial Integrated Palliative Care Program
The goal of the Provincial Integrated Palliative Care Program is to enhance client and family quality of life through access to trained, qualified health care teams in the most appropriate setting.

The palliative care team together with the client and family, develops an individual plan of care. The palliative care team includes at minimum a nurse and a physician, and may involve a care coordinator, social worker, spiritual care provider, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, dietitian, home support worker, paramedic, Hospice volunteers, and others depending on assessed needs. Palliative care focuses on prevention, screening of symptoms and a treatment of symptoms. Communication and quality of life are at the forefront. Palliative care is about living well and enjoying life for as long as possible.

Palliative care may include medical, nursing and other professional health care that can support clients and families with:

  • Understanding their illness and treatment options
  • Expressing their wishes and personal goals, and helping to achieve these goals
  • Pain and symptom management
  • Respite care
  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Advance care planning
  • Ongoing bereavement support.

Most people want to remain in their home for as long as possible and Health PEI strives to support their wish. In addition to care at home, there are three specialized units across the province where palliative care is provided. Those include: the Provincial Palliative Care Centre in Charlottetown; Prince County Hospital in Summerside; and, Community Hospital in O’Leary. There are also designated palliative beds in Western Hospital, Kings County Memorial Hospital, and Souris Hospital.

About Pallium Canada
Pallium Canada is a national, non-profit organization focused on building professional and community capacity to help improve the quality and accessibility of palliative care in Canada. Pallium equips health care organizations, health care professionals, and community members with the knowledge and tools to provide better palliative care and support to patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Pallium works with health care organizations and teams across all settings of care to integrate an early approach to palliative care and transform health care practice.
Pallium Canada had previously partnered with Health PEI and the Nova Scotia Health Authority to provide a version of the training program designed for paramedics supporting palliative care at home.

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