Date: September 15, 2011
New Nursing Research Initiative Helps At The End Of Life
Although not all people with chronic life-limiting illness such as lung, heart, and kidney disease, cancer or dementia require specialized palliative care services, they do require care aimed at improving their quality of life, by preventing and relieving suffering through early identification, assessment and treatment of physical, psychosocial and spiritual concerns.
However, according to a recent study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, three quarters of the British Columbians who die, do so without being identified as people who could benefit from the services associated with palliative care, such as pain management, psychosocial support and advance care planning.
That could soon change, thanks to ongoing research undertaken by some of the province’s universities and health authorities as part of the Initiative for a Palliative Approach in Nursing: Evidence & Leadership (iPANEL). iPANEL will provide information to help improve the BC health system’s ability to promote quality end of life care for any person who is dying, of any illness, regardless of where they are being cared for.
“One of the certain things in life is that we will all die, and when we do, we hope that the health system and those who work in it are there to support us and our family members,” says University of Victoria School of Nursing and UVic Centre on Aging Associate Professor Dr. Kelli Stajduhar, co-leader of the initiative.
Carolyn Tayler, Fraser Health’s Director of End-of-Life Care, is the other co-leader of iPANEL. “Health care needs to change and evolve and it will require system transformation in order to be able to meet the demands of our population,” says Tayler. “This research will provide the evidence required in order to change the system and respond to the rising number of people with serious chronic and life-limiting illness.”
iPANEL research — for nurses by nurses — will show how the nursing profession can help more British Columbians benefit from palliative philosophies and services. With nurses offering a palliative approach in multiple settings (residential care facilities, general hospital wards and at home) more patients and families can be better supported through the many transitions of chronic conditions like dementia, lung, kidney, heart disease and cancer.
A palliative approach does not link the provision of care too closely with prognosis but more broadly focuses on conversations with patients/families about their needs/wishes, comfort measures, support for psychosocial, spiritual and cultural issues; information requirements; and provisions for death and care after death.
Researchers from the Fraser Health Authority, Vancouver Island Health Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Interior Health Authority, University of Victoria, Trinity Western University, UBC Okanagan, and Thompson Rivers University are also members of the iPANEL team. The BC Ministry of Health is a collaborative partner along with many others.
Kelli I. Stajduhar (School of Nursing and Centre on Aging) at 250-721-7487 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7656 or email@example.com
Roy Thorpe-Dorward (Fraser Health) at 604-587-4612 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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