End-of-Life Care in Long Term Care

In the last 15 years there has been significant change in the responsibility of Long Term Care (LTC) homes. Most LTC residents remain there until the end of their lives, with lengths of stay averaging almost two years, depending on the home. Providing care at end of life has become vital to LTC practice, however, palliative care has not been incorporated into the culture and self-perceived role of LTC homes. Further, staff are not equipped with some of the specialized knowledge, skills and dedicated resources to provide palliative care. Only when these gaps are addressed will we be able to create formal palliative care programs in LTC homes. Having these programs would enhance LTC homes’ capacity to provide resident centred care until the resident dies, allowing them to die at what they consider home, with maximum comfort and dignity. In turn, improving capacity in LTC homes to provide palliative and end-of-life care will also help to alleviate unnecessary and unwanted transfers to hospitals and hospices.

We believe that we need to:
  1. expand  advance care planning;
  2. promote palliative care programs in Long Term Care Act;
  3. enhance resources to allow LTC homes to create palliative care programs;
  4. strengthen interprofessional collaboration within LTC homes and with the community.

Integrate hospice palliative care Philosophy into Resident Centred Care

The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA), in partnership with the Quality Palliative Care in Long Term Care Alliance (QPC-LTC) aim to change the common view of long term care and palliative care through knowledge translation and communications initiatives.

For more information on the QPC-LTC Alliance, please go to www.palliativealliance.ca.