City chosen for palliative care study

Categories: Community Engagement.

The study is being funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and has received approval from Simon Fraser University and the Prairie North Health Region Ethics board. It will aim to assist in designing a new method to determine where best to have health services in rural and remote Canadian communities.  

Dr. Melissa Giesbrecht, who will be conducting the interviews, says this study is extremely important for palliative care.
“There’s a huge gap in Canada regarding palliative care services,” she said. “I think there’s something like only 15 per cent are actually accessing palliative care services in Canada when 90 per cent of people could actually be benefiting from it.”

Giesbrecht is hoping to interview anyone who has been involved in palliative care in Lloydminster, including formal caregivers such as social workers, general practitioners, home care nurses, hospital administrators, spiritual advisors, as well as informal caregivers such friends and family members who maybe provided palliative care in the home for a loved one.

Various doctors from across the country are running the study, which should be finished by this summer.

In addition to Lloydminster, interviews will be conducted in three other communities in Ontario, Manitoba, and Newfoundland. Many steps were taken in choosing Lloydminster for the research such as the distance to primary palliative care centres, isolation, population vulnerability, and community readiness. Lloydminster came highly ranked in the study and researchers are hoping to gain more knowledge about how palliative care is being provided in the city.

As of Wednesday, March 5, Giesbrecht had just started the recruitment phase of the study. It will be open until she has between 10 and 20 participants for interviews, which will take place over the phone and last an hour and a half on average. Informal and volunteer caregiver interviewees will receive $50 in recognition of their contribution, but Giesbrecht is also encouraging people to participate because in her experience a lot of people who have provided palliative care often feel frustrated with the system and the availability of services.

“It’s one of those types of health care services that generally aren’t talked about until it happens to you personally and once it does you realize the importance and the value palliative care has,” she said.

Researchers are also hoping the findings of the study will be uploaded on a website where anyone could use it and help determine where best to place not only palliative care, but any kind of health care services.

For more information about the study or if you are interested in participating in an interview, contact Dr. Melissa Giesbrecht at or by phone at 1-778-318-8350. Participation in the study is voluntary, and participants can withdraw at any time without penalty. 

This article appeared in Lloydminister Meridian Booster.

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