Covenant Health
This week's reflection

This week's reflection

Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.

Patrick Lencioni

Canadians Strongly Support Access to High Quality Palliative Care

September 21, 2016

Edmonton --- Palliative Care Matters has released the results of an Ipsos survey on palliative care. The results are an essential part of the evidence that a lay panel of Canadians will weigh at the Consensus Development Conference being held in Ottawa November 7-9, 2016, along with presentations from leading researchers in the field. 1. Palliative Care Matters wishes to acknowledge the financial support of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) in making the Ipsos survey possible.

“The survey results show strong support for high quality palliative care for all Canadians, whether they live in rural and remote areas or in urban centres. Canadians are also strongly supportive of palliative care in a range of settings, including hospitals, hospices, and in the home. They believe programs should be comprehensive and address physical, emotional and human dimensions of care,” said Fred Horne, Co-Chair of the Consensus Development Conference and a former Alberta minister of health.

Support for leadership from the federal government was very strong, with 86% of respondents wanting to see national standards developed and implemented by the federal government. Support is high for palliative care becoming an insured service under the Canada Health Act at 85%, with 53% of those strongly agreeing. Canadians also want the Government of Canada to prepare a document outlining its plan for a palliative care program (89%) and 79% say they would read it.

“The results of the survey show that we need a vision for palliative care in the country. The research shows that almost one in four Canadians has cared for someone or is actively caring for someone right now and we need to create the right system to support them. In order to do this successfully and sustainably, we need all five health care partners involved - the people, governments, universities, health care managers as well as the profession.” said Dr. Granger Avery, President of the Canadian Medical Association.

Canadians were also clear that compassion matters. While pain management and help with daily living were seen as the most important elements of palliative care, Canadians want to see programs and providers that treat them with compassion. They value caregivers who are specifically trained in palliative care, including someone in the system who can coordinate services (88%).

"Palliative care provides comfort and support to patients and families during a life limiting illness, at the end stages of life and when dealing with grief and loss," said Sharon Baxter, Executive Director, Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. "While Canadians strongly value hospice palliative care, overall awareness is low." Only 58% of Canadians are aware of what palliative care involves on an unaided basis and 55% are aware of end of life care. Less than half are aware of residential hospice care (49%) or advance care planning (36%). Awareness of federal Compassionate Care Benefits is low at 15%.

“This survey lays the foundation for the next phase of this initiative,” said Karen Macmillan, Executive Lead for Palliative Care at Covenant Health and Conference Co-Chair. “The results, along with research from leading experts, will be presented at the Consensus Development Conference and inform the lay panel’s consensus statement on future directions for palliative care in Canada. We want professionals, patients and caregivers from across Canada to speak up and have their points of view represented at the conference.”

Complete results and conference details are available at .


Palliative Care Matters is a national initiative that aims to further the development of a national palliative care strategy through a three part process that includes gathering input from the public and experts through research, holding the Consensus Development Conference in November, and issuing a report from the Conference Board of Canada outlining policy options and possible implementation plans early 2017.

Palliative Care Matters asked 1540 Canadians what they wanted to see happen with palliative care in the country. The poll was online August 2 – 11, 2016, and the associated margin of error is +/-2.5%. The research questions were based on an analysis of recommendations made in previous reports on palliative care and input from a series of focus groups held in Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal.

About Covenant Health and the Palliative Institute:

Covenant Health is Canada’s largest Catholic health care organization and a key partner in Alberta’s integrated health system.  Covenant Health has established the Palliative Institute, committed to relieving suffering for patients and their families. 

For more information on the 14 national organizations supporting the initiative, visit:

To arrange interviews with Fred Horne and/or Karen Macmillan, contact:

Barbara Marcinkoski
Communications Consultant
Covenant Health Palliative Institute
(780) 735-9638

To speak with Sharon Baxter, contact:

Sarah Levesque Communications Officer / Agente aux communications
Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) / Association canadienne de soins palliatifs (ACSP)
(613) 241-3663 ext. 229 or/ou 1(800) 668-2785