Category Archives: Latest News

Advocacy for Palliative Care during COVID-19

(Updated May 25, 2020) The CSPCP Board and staff have been working hard to bring palliative care issues to as many national planning tables as possible. We are actively involved in a variety of advocacy issues, including drug shortages, access to PPE, and palliative care standards and education needed for COVID-19.

On April 22, The CSPCP sent a brief “Immediate Issues and Recommendations Regarding Provision of Palliative Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic”to the federal Standing Committee on Health, Health Canada, the federal Ministry of Health, and the CMA. The response has been impressively fast. Updated examples:

Palliative Care Drug Shortages. On the day the brief was circulated, the CSPCP was invited to join a new Tier Assignment Committee (TAC)” for Palliative Care Drugs that is being struck by the Drug Shortages Unit at Health Canada. Its first meeting took place on April 28th. The CSPCP provided asummary of issuesand requested that phenobarbital and methotrimeprazine be considered for Tier 3 status*. These drugs have now been added. The team is looking closely at supply and distribution of these drugs and working with a multi-stakeholder group to mitigate. Reports from CSPCP members indicate that there have already been improvements in the supply. We are working with many partners to keep it that way.*

Personal Protective Equipment for Palliative Care. Health Canada and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), with the support of Global Affairs and at the advice of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), are leading efforts on PPE procurement nationally and internationally. They are also supporting the retooling of national industry for the production of PPE, as well as preparing guidance and supports for decontamination and re-use of respirators. The CMA represents physicians with Health Canada and PHAC, individually as well as on various committees. The CMA and the federal government agencies are aware of the PPE shortages that palliative care teams have encountered, especially in community but also in hospitals. They are working to facilitate equitable access to PPEs in the challenging context of national and worldwide shortages.*

Public Health Agency of Canada.
The CSPCP was recently added to a stakeholder group that is engaging with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). We attended a meeting Friday, May 1st where PHAC updated participants on latest evidence and recommendations which are summarized in their publicly-posted Guidance Documents for Coronavirus Disease.

Palliative care is included in the PHAC guidelines as a consideration for older persons, but there is no mention of it for other age groups. The CSPCP submitted input to PHACasking to include a palliative approach to care for all people with difficult-to-treat symptoms, regardless of age. We heard back immediately and were invited to review recommendations that are being developed for long term care. Our input has also gone to other appropriate groups with in PHAC.

Finances. The CSPCP prepared two proposals seeking support to expand our services to CSPCP members and other physicians. We have also written twice to a number of federal leaders, including Bill Morneau about the impact of COVID-19 on our finances and have requested financial assistance.

*To report shortages of medications and/or personal protective equipment in palliative care settings, contact Kim Taylor ed@cspcp.ca

ALPM 2020 conference is cancelled

(April 21, 2020) Today, the CSPCP Board of Directors announced the cancellation of ALPM 2020. Given the risks to public health and the restrictions all of us are living with, it is clear that we will not be able to hold an in-person event. We apologize for the delay in announcing this, but it was necessary as we worked to mitigate the financial impact on the CSPCP. Please release the 2020 dates from your schedule, and mark your calendar for next year’s ALPM in Calgary: May 6th-8th, 2021.

Cancelling means “undoing” and reconfiguring the activities normally associated with ALPM, including education, networking, sharing of research, honouring award winners, choosing the Resident Research Award winner, and holding our Annual General Meeting and election. But fear not! We have alternatives in mind. We will announce them gradually after the COVID-19 situation settles down.

Thank you to the Conference Planning Committee, Intertask Conferences, the CSPCP Board, and the many CSPCP members who committed time and energy to plan the conference program. We will carry over as much of this work as possible, so it will not be lost.

We regret the loss of the in-person networking and collegiality of ALPM. We considered converting to a virtual conference, but we anticipate that members will not have time to participate during the response to COVID-19. We will consider planning some virtual education options for late 2020 or early 2021 instead. Other upcoming options for education include: the International Congress on Palliative Care (October 13-16, Montreal), CHPCA’s Learning Institute (rescheduled for November 12-14, Ottawa), CSPCP’s online learning modules, and free COVID-19-related courses and webinars from Pallium.

Thank you for your understanding.

The CSPCP Board and Staff

CSPCP Study: Palliative care clinical rotations

April 15, 2020 – Although most Canadian medical schools offer clinical rotations in palliative care, only a minority of trainees at the undergrad & postgrad levels completed such a rotation during their training (2008-2018). Without dedicated clinical exposure to palliative care, many physicians may enter practice without vital palliative care competencies.

Publication in CMAJ Open: http://cmajopen.ca/content/8/2/E257.full

Webinars re COVID-19 from Pallium

To contribute toward health care professional preparedness during this pandemic, Pallium will be hosting a series of webinars in the upcoming weeks focused on topics that are relevant to our health care teams who are actively leading the response to COVID-19. They have created a new page on pallium.ca where webinars will be listed: www.pallium.ca/pallium-canadas-covid-19-response-resources. Please check regularly for updated webinar listings.

Recorded Webinar: Palliative Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The webinar describes the expected challenges of providing palliative care during the current COVID-19 pandemic. It also suggests an important approach to ensuring that all patients with palliative care needs are cared for at this time of crisis.

The webinar recording and slides are posted below.



Slides: Click here