Community Palliative Care

25 Jun Community Palliative Care

Earlier this year, leadership representatives from Chatham-Kent EMS, Essex- Windsor EMS, and Lambton County EMS had the fortunate opportunity to present at an interactive workshop with members of the Erie St. Clair LHIN Palliative Care Team at the annual Hospice Palliative Care Ontario Conference in Toronto.

The joint  team presented on how the Emergency Medical System (EMS) is engaged as a contributing integrated partner in “community palliative care” in Erie St. Clair (ESC). This service delivery model expands capacity to provide palliative care for patients in the community. Two patient stories were shared to provide context and impact on the partnership. The team also discussed national/provincial models where EMS is integrated into palliative care and how these are future models to strive for. They showcased the three different approaches in place, in ESC today, where EMS is a respected partner in palliative care. The main learning objective for the conference delegates was to develop a better sense of how to use a research based quality improvement tool for how they can initiate or strengthen work on the integration of EMS in palliative care in their communities.

The session closed with a brief look at the future – how EMS’s role may evolve over time, why and what changes will need to be made to leverage their contribution to better patient/family centered care including technology changes.  Delegates also gained an understanding of the benefits and challenges associated with integrating EMS with palliative care in the community. By integrating EMS as a partner in palliative care the experience of jurisdictions working with this model has been improvement in Emergency Room (ER) visit avoidance, decreased hospital admissions, greater patient and family satisfaction and support for patients to remain in their desired care setting.