Many older adults in Canada die from life-limiting illnesses such as heart, lung and kidney disease, cancer, dementia and frailty. Of these older adults, the large majority will die in acute care hospitals where the quality of care has been reported to be one where patients suffer with pain and other symptoms, experience poor quality of care and are subjected to treatments that have little benefit in enhancing their quality of life. Building on our previous research we used participatory approaches to work with staff on acute care medical units to integrate a palliative approach into their practice.
Findings from this project will enable the project team to develop evidence-informed recommendations for integrating a palliative approach into acute care medical units, create practice support tools to facilitate transitions in the care journey and provide data to inform the design of a full-scale implementation project in acute care related to the integration of a palliative approach.
Kelli Stajduhar, PhD, RN is a professor in the School of Nursing and Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health at the University of Victoria, and is a research scientist with Fraser Health. She has worked in oncology, palliative care, and gerontology for almost 30 years as a practicing nurse, educator, and researcher. Her clinical work and research has focused on health service needs for those at the end-of-life and their families, and on the needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations.
Neil Hilliard, MD is a former program medical director for the Palliative Care Program at Fraser Health Authority. Currently, he is a palliative care consultant physician in Abbotsford, as well as a clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia. Hilliard’s research surrounds palliative care, and includes integrating a palliative approach to care alongside usual care and clinical drug trials to treat difficult-to-control or intractable pain and other symptoms.