Eight in Ten (86%) Canadians Expect the Federal Government to Develop and Implement National Standards on Palliative Care

Categories: Care.

A significant majority (85%) also support (53% strongly/32% somewhat) integrating national standards for palliative health care services into the Canada Health Act.

Many Canadians also think the federal government’s plan of action for palliative care services should be clearly set out in writing. Nine in ten (89%) agree (57% strongly/32% somewhat) a document outlining the federal government’s plan for implementing a palliative care program should be readily available for all Canadians. Further, eight in ten (79%) agree (40% strongly/39% somewhat) they would read a document that outlines the federal government’s plan for implementing a palliative care program across Canada.

This high level of support for federal engagement on palliative care comes as one in four (24%) Canadians say that they themselves are currently caregivers or have at some point been a caregiver for someone important to them who was or is currently dealing with a life-threatening illness.

For nine in ten (92%) Canadians, the essential elements (minimum standards) of a palliative health care program in a Canadian health care facility include pain management (70% agree strongly/22% somewhat), while nearly as many (88%) agree (50% strongly/39% somewhat) there should also be someone in the system to coordinate care, like a nurse, family doctor or social worker.

Despite this, overall visibility of palliative care and related types of care remains low. Only six in ten (58%) Canadians are aware (16% very/43% somewhat) of palliative care, while just over half (55%) are aware of end of life care (13% very/42% somewhat). Half (49%) are aware of residential hospice care (10% very/39% somewhat), while about one in three (36%) are aware of advance care planning (8% very/28% somewhat), meaning two in three (64%) Canadians are unaware. Lastly, only 15% of Canadians are aware (3% very/ 12% somewhat) about Compassionate Care Benefits provided by the federal government, leaving more than eight in ten (85%) Canadians unaware of these benefits.

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