National Hospice Palliative Care Week: Let’s Work Together

The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association advocates for an inter-professional approach for optimal hospice palliative care

As National Hospice Palliative Care Week kicks off on May 6th, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) is encouraging hospice palliative care professionals, patients, and their families to work together, to ensure the best possible care for Canadians nearing the end of life.

“Support networks are there to help! Health care teams, caregivers, volunteers, family and friends are valuable resources, keep them in the loop,” said Sarah Walker, President, CHPCA, “quality hospice palliative care offers a flexible set of services. It includes physical, psychological, social, spiritual and practical support to people with life-threatening illnesses, and to their families. It focuses on what people need and want at any given time, both prior to death and during bereavement.”

“As Canadians approach the end-of-life, it is increasingly important for pathways of communication to remain open between family and all professionals and volunteers involved in a patient’s continuum of care. This year’s theme encourages us all to maintain open communication and work through a difficult time together” added Sharon Baxter, Executive Director, CHPCA.

The responsibility of caring for someone with a life-limiting illness is one that needs to be shared collectively within the hospice palliative care team and the family. Together we can all make a difference in the lives of those who are living with a life-limiting illness and those affected by it.

“Working together” also means that Canadians are well prepared for the end of life. This includes Advance Care Planning and naming a substitute decision maker. A March 2012 Ipsos-Reid poll found that 86% of Canadians have not heard of advance care planning, and that less than half have had a discussion with a family member or friend about healthcare treatments if they were ill and unable to communicate. Only 9% had ever spoken to a healthcare provider about their wishes for care. For more information on Advance Care Planning please go to

National Hospice Palliative Care Week is coordinated by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care

Association. Funding for National Hospice Palliative Care Week is provided by The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, WeCare Home Health Services, and Valeant Canada Limited. For more information, and promotional materials for National Hospice Palliative Care Week, please go to

Join the CHPCA for a special National Hospice Palliative Care Week Online Event, “Teamwork: The sum is greater than the parts,” on Tuesday May 8th at 1pm EST. Teamwork is a fundamental tenet of palliative care. In this presentation we will examine how we define teams and what characteristics make teams effective or ineffective. We will explore what we mean by expectations, values, ground rules and leadership, factors that define “team culture.” We will also look at common challenges faced by teams and discuss thoughts around sustaining teamwork in whatever setting you work in. To register for this event, please go to

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