Need for Palliative Care Performance Indicators in Ontario Hospitals

Categories: Research.

The study used publicly available hospital demographics, balanced score cards and quality improvement plans from 2011 for all hospitals in Ontario with over 100 beds. The study found that eighty-four percent of hospitals did not identify any performance indicators related to palliative and end-of-life care on their balanced scorecards. The remaining 16% of hospitals reported indicators such as the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System, pain management, patients’ perception of treatment with “dignity and respect” and communication with patients. The study describes these results as disappointing, especially seeing as there have been numerous calls for improvement in palliative and end-of-life care.

Despite these results, it is important to note the initiatives that have been put forth to address and improve the evaluation of palliative and end of life care. For example, CARENET (Canadian Researchers at the End of Life Network) has produced initiatives such as the ACCEPT study, a multi-year, multi-centre initiative to evaluate the quality and quantity of Advance Care Planning practices and the CANHELP (Canadian Health Care Evaluation Project) questionnaire that was designed to improve understanding of satisfaction with care provided to patients with life limiting illness. These are potential examples of palliative/end of life care performance indicators that could be adopted by Ontario Hospitals. The challenge is to get these and other palliative care indicators into the quality agenda of our hospitals.

For the Weiss and Downar’s study click here.

For more information on the ACCEPT study click here.

For more information on the CANHELP tool click here.

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