Building a legacy of care through education
The Ottawa Academic Family Health Team Palliative Care Project (2010-2015) aimed to support four large family medicine teaching clinics with approximately 45 family physicians, 20 nurses, six nurse practitioners, two pharmacists, as well as over 60 family medicine residents to provide a palliative care approach to their own patients.
By the end of the five-year period, almost all health professionals including the residents participated in Pallium’s LEAP (Learning Essential Approaches to Palliative care) courses, equipping all four teams to offer patients and their families medical, social, spiritual and emotional support as part of a palliative care approach. The Project, which included the new palliative curriculum along with home visits, was successful at improving access to appropriate care at the primary care level.
“From May 2012 to April 2013, I personally saw only two palliative care patients. During the next year, I provided palliative care to 20 patients. For our entire group, we saw 50 palliative care patients and 93 the following year,” said one participant.
There were many benefits realized from the Project:
- Patients and families received the support they needed to maintain their quality of life.
- Given increased capacity, the wait times to see a palliative care specialist were reduced.
- Patients and families were less likely to be directed to an emergency department for medical needs after hours.
- Family medicine residents were able to develop their confidence and skills early on in their careers and incorporate into their practices.
- Family physicians took ownership of and fully embraced the palliative care approach.
- Family Health Teams reported better work satisfaction and increased engagement.