Better quality of life for everyone in Saskatchewan

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Palliative Care

Access to quality palliative care

Doctor with older lady in Palliative care talking and holding hands

Palliative care can increase a cancer patient’s quality of life and life expectancy. Despite this, palliative care is not available to everyone in Saskatchewan when and where they need it. Access varies greatly between rural and urban communities. All health regions receive funding for palliative care. However the level of service and quality of care varies greatly from region to region.

Advanced cancer patients should not face delays or financial barriers accessing palliative care.

Tell your MLA that Saskatchewan needs a plan to ensure everyone has access to the care when and where they need it.

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  • Background

    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 and read the Canadian Cancer Society’s new report, “Right to Care: Palliative Care for All Canadians

  • Learn more

    In order for cancer patients to receive timely quality palliative care where they want it, the province needs to train more healthcare providers. Saskatchewan also needs a comprehensive and integrated palliative care strategy. The strategy should address earlier and more equitable access to palliative care, expert symptom and pain management and the integration of appropriate levels of care in appropriate settings.

    Read our Palliative Care report

    Tobacco is a serious public health issue responsible for 1 out of 5 deaths in the province. Smoking rates in Saskatchewan have dropped as they have all over Canada, but we still has one of the highest youth smoking rates in the country. Until Saskatchewan makes tobacco control a greater priority through new laws and adequate funding, we will continue to see more sickness, death and increased healthcare costs.

    Read our Tobacco Control Progress Report

  • Political parties respond to our survey

Click here to share your experience with palliative care.

Click here to see what others are experiencing.



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