Our Palliative Care and Advanced Care Planning programs were launched in 2017 in partnership with our local experts in palliative care at Health Sciences North, Northeast Cancer Centre and the Northeast LHIN who guided the development of this initiative.
Our integrated electronic medical record tools can easily facilitate advance care planning conversations and initiate a palliative care approach with patients diagnosed with a life limiting illness. The pathway has three main components:
The first component is early identification of patients that would benefit from a palliative care approach using disease-specific indicators of decline, with the “Gold standard Framework” to help identify symptoms of decline in disease trajectory.
The second component is the assessment piece using the ESAS-r tool which informs clinician on how a person is experiencing his or her illness and monitors burden of various physical, psychological, and spiritual symptoms. We also use the Palliative Performance Scale which measures a person’s performance status in the area of ambulation, activity and evidence of disease impacting self-care, intake and consciousness. Theses are standardized tools using common language in palliative care to improve communication between health care providers.
The third component, focusing on connecting patients to community homecare resources in both the primary care and specialty clinic partners with the goal of improving quality of living and dying that relieves suffering for patients and families living with life-limiting illnesses.