Vancouver, BC – A new three-year project at Vancouver Coastal Health aims to support health-care professionals in integrating a palliative approach to care into clinical practice. A palliative approach focuses on conversations with people about their needs and wishes, and allows them a greater sense of control over both their living and dying.
VCH will hire up to seven palliative care specialists, including nurses, to educate health-care professionals about what a palliative approach to care entails. These specialists will also help patients and their families better understand the palliative process.
This novel approach is made possible through a $2 million donation from Robert H.N. Ho and family. “This generous gift will help ensure patients facing serious, life-limiting illness are recognized and engaged in conversations about their goals of care to ensure their wishes and values are respected and documented,” says Yasmin Jetha, Regional Director, End of Life Program, Vancouver Coastal Health. “By knowing that patients are approaching the end of their lives, we are better able to provide appropriate access to palliative care, which may include life-prolonging treatment. By increasing palliative care planning we can keep people living at home longer, surrounded by their loves ones.”
“It is our hope that embedding a palliative approach into all areas of clinical care will create a culture shift that will benefit patients and their families, and help a system that is bracing for an aging demographic with changing expectations for care at the end of life,” says Dr. Peter Edmunds, Regional Director End of Life Program. “We know that given the choice, most people who are seriously ill want to talk to their doctor about end-of-life support. The trouble is, sometimes that discussion never happens.”
The new palliative care clinical leads will augment VCH’s End of Life Care strategy which includes:
- Increasing hospice capacity across VCH by 2020;
- Improving access and capacity for end-of-life care;
- Improving residential and at-home palliative services.
“Palliative care is something that few donors think about. A gift of this magnitude, to this area of health care, will impact patients and families for years to come,” says Barbara Grantham, President and CEO of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. “We are so grateful to Robert and Greta Ho for this truly innovative gift.”
“Greta and I are proud to support such an important program," says Robert H.N. Ho. “Vancouver Coastal Health is at the leading edge of palliative care, and with an aging population the need will only grow. This program helps to meet the health and spiritual needs of patients and families, and that is very important to our family.”
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.3 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.
Anne Marie D’Angelo, Senior Media Relations Officer
Vancouver Coastal Health
Cell: (604) 790-4763