Hospice Palliative Home Care in Canada: A Progress Report

by Jean Bacon

May 1, 2008
This report is a snapshot of hospice palliative home care services available to Canadians in 2008. The information refers only to hospice palliative care services provided in the home. Other settings where Canadians die -- in hospital, long-term care homes and hospices, and on the street -- are equally important but were not covered in this survey.
  • Most Canadians who are nearing end of life would prefer to die at home surrounded by family and friends. Yet almost 60% of Canadian deaths occur in a hospital. This gap can be explained, in part, by the variability in the hospice palliative care services provided at home in different jurisdictions.
  • No more than 37% of Canadians who are dying have access to adequate hospice palliative care.
  • Although many of the right policies and procedures are in place, the number of people who actually receive high quality hospice palliative home care services is still limited by lack of training -- particularly for personal support workers, lack of resources, geography, and restrictive eligibility criteria.
  • People living in urban centres are more likely to receive comprehensive hospice palliative care than those in rural or remote communities.
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