Strengthening a Palliative Approach to Long-Term Care
A palliative approach in long-term care (LTC) empowers families and staff to provide personalized and high-quality care for LTC residents living with chronic and life-limiting illnesses. This approach provides individuals with a seamless transition from chronic disease management to appropriate end-of-life planning and care. We believe palliative approach is beneficial at any stage in a chronic illness to maximize comfort and respect a person’s wishes. Working alongside health professionals and family members, individuals with a life-limiting or life-ending illness are involved throughout the illness trajectory. Care is rooted in open and honest conversations so that the personal, spiritual and emotional concerns of residents are heard and addressed.
Strengthening the capacity of long-term care (LTC) homes to engage in and support early palliative conversations identifies and addresses end-of-life issues, decreasing stress on residents and families, and avoiding costly hospital stays. The palliative approach empowers residents, families, and staff to initiate timely discussions about palliative care or what to do in the event of a change in health status. Early research demonstrates that implementing a palliative approach to care in LTC leads to significant improvement in resident and family satisfaction with the quality of health communication and up to a 55% reduction in emergency department visits for residents in the last year of life. As a result, more LTC residents can be supported to live and to die in a way that better aligns with their values.