The overall goals of our project are to improve the experience of staff in applying a palliative approach to care, and to improve the care experience and outcomes of older adults with serious illnesses and their families.
What is the Palliative Approach to Care?
Palliative Care has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment, and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial, and spiritual."
The palliative approach encompasses life-limiting illnesses and end-of-life care. It emphasizes the importance of understanding what is most important to patients and their families so they can prepare and benefit from palliative care earlier and for a longer period of time.
We will investigate the impact of a Palliative Care Education Program at York Care Centre using online training modules combined with staff mentorship. A series of 12 online modules will be deployed each month, spanning several topics. There will also be 5 on-site staff mentors identified at York Care Centre. The mentors will connect with a palliative expert at Victoria Hospice and will help the staff at York Care Centre remain engaged with the project and regularly participate in palliative discussions.
We will collect questionnaires from staff to measure knowledge and skills gained from the online modules. We will also look at the care experiences as perceived by family members of residents. Care notes and health data from randomly selected residents will be used to detect changes in emergency visits, admissions to hospital, and location of death. By implementing the staff education program, we will promote the advancement of a palliative approach and ultimately improve the care experiences and outcomes for residents and their families.
This project is funded by the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project. The Healthy Seniors Pilot Project is a $75 million three year agreement between the Government of New Brunswick and the Public Health Agency of Canada, jointly led by the Government of New Brunswick’s Department of Social Development and the Department of Health through the Aging Secretariat.