2021 World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Special Lecture: Equity in Access to Palliative Care

Categories: Care and Featured.

Authors: Christopher A. Klinger, PhD*; Holly Finn, PMP**; and Raza M. Mirza, PhD***                                                


The National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly’s (NICE) End-of-Life Issues Theme Team, the Palliative Care ECHO Project and the Institute for Life Course and Aging (ILCA) at the University of Toronto hosted the annual World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Special Lecture online on October 14, 2021. 

Organized in connection with World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (WHPCD) as a unified day of action, the event highlighted the importance of the international hospice and palliative care movements with the aim of raising awareness and understanding toward the various medical, social, practical, and spiritual needs of people living with a life-limiting illness and their families/friends. WHPCD is organized by a committee of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) as a network of hospice and palliative care national and regional organizations. 

On behalf of the Organizing Committee for the Special Lecture, Christopher A. Klinger, PhD of NICE and Pallium Canada opened the virtual session, welcoming this year’s distinguished speakers, and reminding the audience of the opportunities for the sectors as Canada moves toward a Framework on Palliative Care. 

Jeffrey B. Moat, CM — Chief Executive Officer of Pallium Canada — provided an update on recent Pallium Canada initiatives, including the launch of the Palliative Care ECHO Project. It is designed to cultivate communities of practice and establish continuous professional development among health care providers across Canada who care for patients with life-limiting illness. 

Professor Irene J. Higginson, OBE — Executive Dean and Vice Dean for Research, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care, King’s College London (KCL) and Director of the Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation — focused her keynote address on equitable access to palliative care for the 21st century. Furthermore, she presented a seven-point action plan for better palliative care, including enhanced palliative care expertise across sectors, evidence-based service provision, and focused hospice and palliative care research. Her reminder toward investment in community-based services (including compassionate communities) and toward vulnerable populations brought the theme of the Day “Equity in Access to Palliative Care” to full circle. 

On behalf of the host organizations, Esme Fuller-Thomson, PhD — Director of the ILCA — presented Professor Higginson with the Certificate of Recognition: 


The actual framed award will be given to her in person at one of the next international hospice and palliative care conferences following the COVID-19 pandemic.

A webcast of the Special Lecture is available for free via Pallium Canada’s YouTube channel here.

* National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE) and Pallium Canada 

** Pallium Canada 

*** National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE) and  

Institute for Life Course and Aging, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto 

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