Better access to palliative care
We know that palliative care is beneficial to cancer patients as it increases their quality of life. Some studies have even shown that people who receive palliative care live longer than those who do not. Despite its benefits, access to care in Saskatchewan is not available to everyone when and where they need it. All health regions receive funding for palliative care however the level of service and quality of care varies greatly.
People who receive palliative care make fewer emergency room visits, are hospitalized less often, and can actually save the healthcare system money.
Saskatchewan needs a plan to ensure everyone has access to provincially funded care earlier in their illness and in the location that’s best for them. Advanced cancer patients should not face delays or financial barriers accessing this care.
What we know:
- many patients, families and healthcare providers have a misunderstanding of palliative care, assuming it means giving up hope
- fewer than half of patients who die in hospital receive palliative care
- about half of cancer patients die in acute care hospitals, even though most people want to die at home
- not enough healthcare providers are trained in palliative care, and many don’t offer it early enough
What we need:
- equal access to provincially funded quality palliative care when and where you need it, including in hospices and at home
- more training for healthcare providers and better integration of those skilled workers into the system
- greater public awareness and understanding of what palliative care can provide the patient and family
- increased support for family caregivers
By improving palliative care, Saskatchewan can reduce hospital costs, increase quality of life for the patient, and protect families from a potentially crippling financial burden of a critical illness.
To learn more, go to cancer.ca and read the Canadian Cancer Society’s new report, “Right to Care: Palliative Care for All Canadians”