The Canadian Cancer Society and the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec join forces to offer nurses palliative care training

31 March 2016

Montreal -

On the eve of The Daffodil Month, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ) announced today that a unique online training program on palliative care will be offered to 73,000 OIIQ members, that is, all the nurses practising in Quebec.

Called Palliative care: when everything needs to be done, this training program was developed by the OIIQ with a grant from the CCS. Recognized by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS), its objective is to equip nurses to intervene adequately with people requiring palliative care in the home, hospital or other institutions. The title of the training is clear about the importance of palliative care in managing symptoms and thereby enhancing the quality of life of patients and their loved ones.

“One of the priorities of the CCS, which the OIIQ supports, is making sure that all Quebecers have access to quality palliative care and get the support they need. Experts confirm that it’s desirable for palliative care to be an integral part of the care spectrum and available along the continuum of a disease like cancer. Considering that eight in ten patients who receive palliative care have cancer and that we expect an increase in the number of cancer cases by at least 35% in Quebec by 2030 , the CCS thinks it’s crucial to develop the palliative care skills of healthcare professionals. Our initiative to fund an online training program for Quebec nurses in collaboration with the OIIQ is a reflection of this will,” says Suzanne Dubois, Executive Director, CCS – Quebec Division.

“All nurses who work in general practice or emergency care are likely to come across people who need palliative care. End-of-life care is one of the most sensitive topics in our profession. This stage in life has a bearing on the professional values of nurses, values that are at the core of the close relationship between nurses and their patients. This relationship is defined by intimate and respectful care delivery. Nurses are concerned about people’s access to quality care. This motivates them on a daily basis, so we’re very happy to collaborate for the well-being of terminally ill patients and it’s with pride that we’re offering Quebec nurses this training that’s available any time,” says Lucie Tremblay, President of the OIIQ.

An Act respecting end-of-life care came into force on December 10, 2015. It addresses the organization and framework of palliative care to facilitate universal access to care that is adapted to the needs of patients during the course of their disease. From now, any terminally ill patient will be assured of receiving quality care whether in a hospital, nursing home, at home or in a hospice. Institutions must ensure that anyone in need receives the appropriate end-of-life care at the time and place desired, according to the patient’s wishes.

Furthermore, on November 15, 2015, Health Minister Dr Gaétan Barrette unveiled the Plan de développement 2015-2020 pour les soins palliatifs et de fin de vie au Québec. Apart from an investment of $10 million to add new palliative care beds and support caregivers as well as home care assistance, the government also set nine major priorities, including training healthcare professionals in palliative care. The CCS-subsidized OIIQ training will contribute to achieving this goal .

About the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ)

The OIIQ is the largest professional association in the field of healthcare in Quebec. It is governed by the Nurses Act and the Professional Code. As of March 31, 2015, it had 73,622 members and some 15,000 registered students. Its mission is to ensure the protection of public health by and with nurses while working for the enhancement of Quebecers’ health. The OIIQ also has the mandate of promoting quality nursing and contributing to the maintenance of nursing skills.

About the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS)

With the support of 300,000 annual donors and 30,000 volunteers, the CCS does all it can to increase the overall cancer survival rate, currently at 63%, to 80%. Each year, some 135,000 Quebecers turn to it. The money raised by the CCS helps prevent more cancers and demand laws that protect public health, fund more research projects and support more people living with cancer. Visit cancer.ca or call 1 888 939-3333 for more information.

Information and interview requests:
André Beaulieu
Spokesperson and Senior Advisor, Public Relations
Canadian Cancer Society
Quebec Division
514 217-8327

Colette Ouellet
Communications Director
Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec
514 604-2298
Fact Sheet

The 12-hour training program, Palliative care: when everything needs to be done, will be offered at a cost of $72 for OIIQ members and $103 for non-members (worth $325). The French version will be available in April 2016 and the English version in September 2016. Its exhaustive content includes:

  • the acquisition of knowledge and the development of skills necessary for the assessment and management of pain and symptoms as well as palliative sedation;
  • the approach to end-of-life care that may follow palliative care;
  • the myths and barriers in patients and healthcare professionals that hinder optimal pain alleviation;
  • the concepts of total pain, palliative sedation and medical aid in dying;
  • the management of the anticipated symptoms of a serious and advanced disease as well as the capacity to recognize the most common emergency signs;
  • the emotional, spiritual and psychosocial support for patients and caregivers;
  • the disclosing of the truth to the patient and loved ones and integrating the family in the care of the patient;
  • the concepts of hope, dignity and quality of life.
What does palliative care consist of?

This care is intended to enhance the quality of life of patients with a serious and progressive disease through the participation of a multidisciplinary team. It includes active pain control, symptom management and psychosocial, emotional and spiritual support for patients and their families. Palliative care is an essential element in the care continuum, which should be started early in the progression of an advanced disease and given gradually in parallel with other treatments.

Why is palliative care a priority for the Canadian Cancer Society?
  • Palliative care researchers have shown that when this care is offered earlier, it enhances the quality of life and prolongs the lives of those who receive it.
  • Only 50% of cancer pain is adequately managed.
  • In Quebec, access to palliative care is very uneven. Depending on the region, 20-60% of needs are met.
  • Even if the overall cancer survival rate is increasing, more than 20,000 Quebecers are dying from it every year, which makes it the leading cause of death in the province. The quality of life of these people and access to quality care during their lifetime are fundamental issues.
  • Each year, hundreds of people with cancer die in hospital emergency rooms because of a lack of palliative care beds and home care services.
  • Too many Quebecers don’t know what palliative care is and wrongly think that it causes or accelerates death. This creates barriers between offer (doctors’ referrals) and demand (patients).