6,000 patients in Ontario currently need an “Alternate Level of Care” (ALC). They do not need to be in hospital, but there is nowhere safe for them to go. Government investment in palliative care is a crucial part of the solution.
Despite our preferences, most Canadians do not have the privilege of dying at home. Although it is not possible to guarantee a good death, it is possible to reduce your risk of a bad death by thinking and talking about end-of-life.
While visitor policies have undoubtedly helped prevent COVID transmission in hospitals, as we move away from a crisis response to COVID-19, caregivers and families may once again be able to support patients alongside their health-care teams.
Palliative care has an image problem. We need to find someone who can get the message across to the thousands of Canadians who could benefit from a palliative approach to care and those who care for them.
My job gives me an interesting perspective. The simplest lesson I have learned is this: At the end of life, it is not what we have done that we remember most, but it is the things we did not do that we regret.
The Patient's Medical Home is a vision for the future of family practice in Canada: One that focuses on comprehensive, coordinated, and continuing care for populations through a family physician working with health care teams.
What if you needed urgent medical care, but someone else had to speak on your behalf about the care that you'd receive? Advance care planning would prepare you for such a situation. Don't leave it to others to make guesses about your care.
Western University may open an institute meant to foster cross-disciplinary innovation in the field of palliative care. If fully realized, it could transform health care in southwestern Ontario. Now, let's go even farther.
Dr. Ramona Mahtani has led an effort to integrate palliative care into siloed medical specializations throughout the pandemic. In doing so, she has put forward a bold, boundary-pushing vision of what palliative care can be.
In hospice settings, nurses wet the mouths of patients as they take their last breaths. Sometimes, they simply sit with them so that no one dies alone. As a physician, I could not do my job without them.
By using tools that identify which patients have an elevated risk of mortality in the coming year, we can catch patients who would benefit from palliative care planning before they fall through the cracks.
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