January 21, 2022
An update from the Palliative Care Partnership
As a result of the work of the Palliative Care Partnership, the Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (FL&A) region will have a connected and equitable, community-based program for specialist palliative care and resources that enables people to remain in their homes and communities. This care will be accessible 24/7 with a palliative care resource nurse who will be a single point of contact for both patients, families and other health care providers. They will work with families and providers to collaborate and connect them to the most appropriate resource and support based on the patient’s goals of care, including facilitating direct admissions when needed to specialized palliative care units or hospice, thereby avoiding unnecessary ED visits or acute care admissions.
To make this happen, the Partnership team has put together a business proposal that will be submitted for funding a new model of care that is based on national standards for palliative care and provides continuous 24/7 access to a regional specialized palliative care team via the palliative care resource nurse.
The Partnership is focusing on building capacity for primary care palliative care and working with colleagues to better understand barriers to providing primary palliative care and developing specific strategies to address these challenges. As part of this work, online educational courses are being rolled out to provide practical tips for how to provide holistic palliative care in our region.
In October and November, Dr. Leonie Herx and Dr. Justyna Nowak established and ran a new course that was well-received through the Queen’s Continuing Professional Development office to engage and support primary palliative care capacity building in FL&A entitled: “Palliative Care in Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington: An Ontario Health Team Perspective - Online Series”.
The Palliative Care Partnership is also working on developing one electronic coordinated palliative care plan so that the region has a standardized way of identifying people who have needs for a palliative approach to care. This will ensure that there is a clear accountable plan of care developed that is communicated with all partners involved in providing care, including the primary care physician and home care team. This care plan will be digitally accessible and shared throughout the team so everyone is updated on the current needs, goals and wishes of the patient.
“This new integrated regional program will provide wrap around specialist palliative care with a single point of contact 24/7 for those who need it, preventing unnecessary ED visits and acute care admissions, and supporting individuals to remain in their homes and communities,” says Dr. Leonie Herx, Chair of the FLA OHT Palliative Care Partnership.
The Partnership has created and endorsed an overall QI Project plan (Driver Diagram) and established dedicated project groups who are working on the initial priority change ideas, including:
Identifying indigenous-focused palliative care strategies for care planning
Improving access to primary palliative care
Clarifying & communicating a self-referral pathway for palliative homecare
Identifying palliative care gaps for underserved populations within FLA including vulnerably housed/homeless, prisoners, and rural/remote communities
System measures/metrics group to ensure improvements in palliative care are best evaluated and captured in terms of meaningful outcomes. This includes a plan to reinstate the Caregiver VOICES survey in our region.