Covenant Health
This week's reflection

This week's reflection

Happiness is a butterfly which when pursued is always just beyond your grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

What does the Palliative Institute do?

The Palliative Institute’s work plan is directed by Covenant Health’s Strategy (2016-2021). The current work plan has three overriding goals that support Covenant Health’s Transform Strategy (T4): We will be leaders in robust palliative and end-of-life care and advocate for it as an essential part of the health system. We have over 15 active projects related to research, education and policy.

Palliative Institute Research Report, May 2016
Making a Difference in Palliative Care: Highlights of the Covenant Health Palliative Institute 2012-2017

Goals & activities

Increase palliative care capacity to address gaps in service within Canada

  • End-of- Life Clinical Pathway – We have revised and are now piloting a palliative, end-of-life pathway at Covenant Health sites (in collaboration with Edmonton Zone continuing care).
  • Environmental scan of palliative care services and identification of innovative practices within the context of Canadian Roman Catholic health care organizations in Canada.
  • Development of standardized assessments to identify patient distress and resources (dignity question).

Increase the use of Goals of Care Designation (GCD) and Advance Care Planning (ACP) within all of Covenant   

  • Integrate performance indicators for ACP and GCD in practice in Alberta to track the success of ACP and GCD policy implementation.
  • Identify barriers and facilitators to implementation of ACP and GCD in vascular surgery, and in fractured hip surgical population, and work toward improving GCD education, processes and compliance.

Advocate for a national robust palliative and end-of-life care system

  • Palliative Care Matters - This initiative is intended to develop a consensus of Canadians on the future of palliative care which will catalyze changes in healthcare policy and practice. This three-phase initiative included an Ipsos survey of 1540 Canadians, a consensus development conference in Ottawa November 2016, and a Conference Board of Canada report reviewing the consensus statement and providing recommendations for implementation (May 2017). The Institute initiated, led and hosted Palliative Care Matters in collaboration with 13 national organizations. Evaluation of the work and advocacy are next steps.
  • Host the Annual Palliative Education & Research Days conference. This conference held in Alberta, usually Edmonton, has become well known as a centre of excellence to discuss and further the practice of palliative care.
  • The Palliative Institute hosts selected conferences in the national and international realm to share and further the knowledge and practice of palliative care:
  • Palliative Care Matters Consensus Development Conference (Nov. 2016)
  • European Association for Palliative Care Research Network  (Dec. 2016)
  • Advance Care Planning & End-of-Life Care Conference (ACPEL 2017) (Sept. 2017) The Institute is hosting the 6th International Society of Advance Care Planning and End-of-life Care conference to be held in Banff, Alberta. This conference brings together physicians, policy makers, nurses, social workers, researchers, chaplains and other health care professions to review and discuss the latest research and knowledge about this practice which leads to better decisions for the patient at the end of life. This is the first ACPEL conference to be held in Canada.

What is advance care planning

Advance care planning (ACP) is the process of discussing, and sometimes documenting, the wishes, preferences and values a person has about his/her medical care for the future, when health may deteriorate.  ACP encourages dialogue between a person, his/her family, and the health care team that can guide medical decision-making even when a person becomes incapable of consenting to or refusing healthcare.


Alberta Health Services information about ACP

Plan Well Guide


What is goals of care designation?

A physician or nurse practitioner may create a medical order for a patient’s future care. The designation of the goals of care for a patient may occur when advance care planning discussions are taking place.

See also Alberta Health Services information about goals of care designation.