Network for End of Life Studies (NELS)
Our Network for End of Life Studies (NELS) aims to improve end-of-life care for persons with chronic disease. Canadians value their health system and expect ready access to effective care, but, there is uneven access to quality end-of-life care.
The majority of cancer patients prefer to die at home, if adequate support is available, yet 70% of Nova Scotians die in hospital. The number of chronic disease related deaths will increase steeply in the next two decades due to our aging population. As a result, Nova Scotia, along with the rest of Canada and other countries, are facing the challenges of providing adequate quality end-of-life care.
End-of-life is typically a time of considerable health service utilization, substantial service needs, and major health care costs. A focus on quality of life and community based supportive care, rather than cure, is appropriate at this time. Nova Scotians say that access to palliative and supportive care close to home is critically important, but less than 20% are satisfied with the current provision of services.
Advances in palliative care have typically focused on cancer. It is increasingly being recognized that end of life care for other terminal disease, such as congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, requires attention.
In Nova Scotia we are expanding our capacity to carry out research to overcome the challenges facing us in the delivery of adequate quality end-of-life care.