Development Plan 2015-2020 for Palliative and End-of-life Care – one year on - The Canadian Cancer Society demands more support for caregivers and more information for the public

07 December 2016

Montreal -

With the approach of the first anniversary of the Act respecting end-of-life care and the tabling of the Development Plan 2015-2020 for Palliative and End-of-life Care by Health Minister Gaétan Barrette, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) would like to point out that Quebec has the most complete palliative care plan in Canada, but more must be done in this regard. A year ago, the CCS lauded the establishment of the right to palliative care for all and welcomed the ambitious goals of the Plan. Today, the CCS sees progress, but is worried by the delay in the execution of the proposed measures. Promises made to patients and their families must be made good as soon as possible.

$4.5 million promised to caregivers

Launched with general enthusiasm and with the support of stakeholders, the Development Plan 2015-2020 for Palliative and End-of-life Care was accompanied by a landmark measure: $4.5 million per year for respite benefits to families who provide home care for a loved one. This is the equivalent of $1,000 per family, which represents up to 35 hours of in-home respite care offered by professionals. “We were present when this measure was announced with great pomp in November 2015, but it didn’t feature in the March 2016 budget and still doesn’t seem to be implemented. In the meanwhile, family caregivers are at the end of their tether,” says Suzanne Dubois, Executive Director, CCS – Quebec Division.

Gaping lack of information

The World Health Organization (WHO) is categorical about the need to inform the public about palliative care so that people can ask for and have access to this essential service. However, a recent pan-Canadian survey conducted by Ipsos confirms that people don’t really know much about palliative care in general (58%) and notes that this rate is even lower in Quebec (51%). Also, the government information campaign following the Act and the Plan didn’t mention palliative care at all. “Quebecers’ lack of information about palliative care is a matter of great concern,” says Mélanie Champagne, Director, Public Issues, CCS – Quebec Division. “How can patients ask for palliative care if they don’t know what it is or that they now have a legal right to it?”

Necessary training underway

The training of professionals, often inadequate, was identified as a priority by the Health Ministry. The CCS has contributed to this by supporting the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ) in starting an online training program for palliative care. Available to all nurses in Quebec, this training is extremely popular because more than 1,500 nurses from across the province have signed up for it in just six months.

“The CCS has committed in many ways to supporting access to palliative care because this enhances the quality of life and sometimes even the life expectancy of the people who receive it. The organization intends to continue making demands until the right to palliative care has become a reality for everyone, everywhere and earlier,” adds Mélanie Champagne.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

With the support of 300,000 annual donors and 30,000 volunteers, the CCS is the Quebec cancer charity with the potential to save the most lives. Each year, some two million Quebecers turn to us. Let’s save more lives. Visit cancer.ca or call us at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Mélanie Champagne

Manager, Public Issues

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: 514-255-5151