Palliative Care Knowledge Translation Project  

Access to palliative care is an issue of substantial concern for the community we serve. There are vast inconsistencies in when and how palliative care is introduced to patients facing a life-limiting illnesses as well as systemic gaps in the understanding of this area of treatment on the part of healthcare professionals. As a result, we are leading a Palliative Care Knowledge Translation project to directly address the education gaps and access issues in palliative care which have long-affected pancreatic cancer patients. 

Palliative care is the treatment and alleviation of suffering for those facing an acute or persistent medical issue whether the prognosis is deemed terminal or chronic. The focus of palliative care is on helping people live well for however long that may be. Palliative care is interdisciplinary, patient centered, and focuses on receiving the right level of care for an individual’s illness.

Over the last three years, requests from Canadians looking for support though our “Ask an Expert” program have doubled and throughout this process it became clear that knowledge about and access to palliative care is an area of grave concern for the community we serve. Since the issue of palliative care resides primarily within our healthcare systems, we are now elevating the urgency to healthcare professionals most directly in positions of influence for change.
The aim of this project is to directly address the education gaps and access issues in palliative care which have long-affected patients. This project will provide necessary direction from oncology healthcare professionals on how best to ensure Canadians diagnosed with pancreatic cancer have fair and equitable access to palliative care. 

“Earlier access to palliative care has been shown to improve quality of life for patients and caregivers, to improve mental health outcomes, and in some cases to improve survival. It is essential that people affected by pancreatic cancer receive access to palliative care.”

Dr. Justin Sanders

Director, Palliative Care McGill University

We are partnering with Dr. Justin Sanders, Director Palliative Care McGill University, and his research team to implement the project. Expected outcomes of this project:  

Expanded communication and collaboration with healthcare professionals

  • Strategies to encourage incorporating palliative care earlier in patient journey.
  • Best practices and strategies for communicating and disseminating information to healthcare professionals based on survey results and knowledge translation event.   
  • Survey template for future outreach to doctors that requires data collection.  
  • Contact list of healthcare professionals to contact regarding palliative care in their respective regions.     
  • Strategies on how we can collaborate with healthcare professionals to better serve our community. 

Enhanced PCC programs and services 

  • Building up our patient support programs such Ask An Expert to offer a palliative care lens.   
  • Include palliative care features into marketing and communications – highlighting healthcare professionals and pancreatic cancer patient experiences.   
  • Staff training on palliative care and findings from survey and event.   
  • Partner with allied organizations to amplify importance of palliative care and how to access service. 

With the increased insight and knowledge in palliative care approaches, we can meaningfully expand our patient support programs in a way that increases education, awareness of and access to palliative care as an essential part of the healthcare response. We also aim to align with allied organizations to maximize resources and ensure that issues surrounding access to palliative care continue to be advocated for.     

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