We support a range of projects across the province.
Alberta Palliative Care Competencies and Education
This initiative aims to offer a palliative continuing education program for healthcare providers practicing in Alberta. The project builds on the foundation of the healthcare provider-specific palliative care competencies developed in 2018.
Advance Care Planning Alberta
The Advance Care Planning Alberta project vision is to equip every Albertan to carry out health, legal and personal planning.
Based on findings from the Advance Care Planning Collaborative Research and Innovation Opportunities program, this project will bring advance care planning into Albertans’ lives through community organizations and collaboration with sectors, including law and financial planning.
Palliative Care Public Awareness
This project aims to educate the public through innovative community partnerships and to provide practical tools and resources for patients and families facing serious illness.
Palliative Care Matters
Palliative Care Matters was a national research campaign we led in partnership with Health Canada, Pallium Canada, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and 13 healthcare organizations across Canada between 2016 and 2019. Centred on a national Consensus Development Conference held in November 2016, researchers conducted public opinion research and questioned experts on how to improve the delivery of palliative care.
Edmonton Classification System for Cancer Pain
The Edmonton Classification System for Cancer Pain (ECS-CP) is a tool for identifying patients who may need more complex pain management. The system allows for better assessment and management and facilitates appropriate comparisons of clinical and research experience.
The ECS-CP was created in Edmonton through a collaborative research effort involving a series of validation studies. The findings from this research have been presented and published internationally in multiple languages.
Edmonton Symptom Assessment System — Revised
The Edmonton Symptom Assessment System — Revised (ESAS-r) is an internationally recognized nine-item self-report symptom intensity tool developed for palliative care patients, with the option of adding a tenth patient-specific symptom. It is the result of three studies to validate the original ESAS.
Future research will look at the role of the ESAS-r in psychosocial and spiritual distress screening for aging, cognitively impaired and non-cancer palliative care patients.
Visit AHS Symptom Assessment Tools (Assessment approaches section) to learn more.
Advance Care Planning Collaborative Research and Innovation Opportunities
The Advance Care Planning Collaborative Research and Innovation Opportunities program was knowledge translation research funded by Alberta Innovates from April 2013 to September 2019. It was conducted by the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine in partnership with Alberta Health Services and Covenant Health.
The project aimed to find the best ways to encourage uptake of advance care planning and to determine the impact of this uptake on clinical outcomes and use of health resources. The current Advance Care Planning Alberta project will implement the findings of this research.
Renal End-Stage Pathway
This clinical care pathway is a resource for patients and healthcare professionals involved in conservative kidney management, a treatment option for managing advanced chronic kidney disease. The pathway focuses on quality of life, symptom management and living well without dialysis.
We supported the development of this pathway as a member of the Kidney Supportive Care Research Group. The pathway is currently being moved from research to implementation through collaboration with Alberta’s Kidney Health Strategic Clinical Network.
Patient Dignity Question
The Patient Dignity Question (PDQ) is a novel, brief approach to getting a complete picture of an individual. Patients and their families are asked to respond to the question, “What should your healthcare providers know about you (your family members) as a person to give you (them) the best care possible?”
We supported a pilot study to evaluate potential use of the PDQ by the tertiary palliative care unit at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital and two acute care hospitals as part of a Division of Palliative Care Medicine Residency project.
End-of-Life (Last Hours to Days) Care Pathway
In 2017, we worked with Edmonton Zone Continuing Care to revise and re-release the Palliative Care Pathway as the Care of the Imminently Dying Pathway for use as a provincial framework for supporting care in all patients’ last hours to days of life.
This pathway is a set of tools designed to enhance the quality of care and provide comfort for a person at the very end of life. It offers guidance for any member of the healthcare team in any care setting as well as a co-ordinated approach to care and communication.
Using the pathway can help care teams improve outcomes, promote safety, increase satisfaction with care and get the most out of resources.
Family caregiver satisfaction
In response to an Accreditation Canada recommendation, Covenant Health and the Edmonton Zone Palliative Care program adopted the FAMCARE-2 tool as a measure of family caregiver satisfaction with palliative care services.
A process evaluation study of the FAMCARE-2 was carried out by Edmonton hospices and the Grey Nuns Community Hospital tertiary palliative care unit. The tool was also piloted at the St. Michael’s Health Centre palliative unit in Lethbridge to test its appropriateness in getting family satisfaction feedback.
The tool is now used by all Edmonton and Covenant Health palliative units in Alberta, with regular reporting and posting of family caregiver comments for staff.
European Association for Palliative Care Research Network seminar
This international seminar, which we led and organized in co-operation with the European Palliative Care Research Centre and European Association for Palliative Care Research Network, was held in December 2016 in Banff.
Researchers shared their experiences of conducting collaborative studies within Canada and across both North America and Europe. The conference provided opportunities to connect, share experiences and discuss approaches to palliative care research.
Environmental scan of Canadian Catholic palliative care services and innovations
Completed in collaboration with the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada, this project captured the scope of palliative care service delivery and innovation in Canadian Catholic health care, identifying 22 initiatives in total. Catholic healthcare organizations also completed a self-assessment of their readiness to promote change.