Enhancing End of Life Care for Cancer Patients and Their Families

Integrating Emergency Health Services and Palliative Care to Enhance the End of Life Experience for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island Cancer Patients and Their Families

Co-lead agencies: Cancer Care Nova Scotia, EHS Nova Scotia, Health PEI, and Island EMS

The project at a glance:

• This project will improve access to palliative and end of life care at home for NS and PEI cancer patients.

• This means Nova Scotia and PEI palliative cancer patients will be able to receive relief of common symptoms, 24 hours a day 7 days a week anywhere in the province, by calling 911.

• This is valuable because services may not always be available in a time of crisis, but by enhancing the role of paramedics we can ensure there will always be a way to get help from trained professionals.

Nova Scotia and PEI paramedics will be trained in pain and symptom management for palliative care cancer patients using an evidenced based guideline in order to provide a qualified 24/7 emergency response team to manage palliative crises in the home. As a result of the provincial nature of the emergency medical services (EMS) system in both provinces, this service will be available to all residents of both NS and PEI regardless of how remote or rural their community.

This response will be available to all patients calling 911 who require pain and symptom management within the scope of practice of paramedics, and will not require transport to the emergency department. This collaborative project is designed to enhance the end of life experience for cancer patients and their loved ones, reduce Emergency Department visits and avoid futile and/or unwanted medical interventions. Other benefits of this project will include an increased awareness among health professionals and the public of the importance of end of life planning.

This is a three year project funded in part by Health Canada through the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

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