Palliative & End of Life Care Alberta Provincial Framework

The Palliative and End of Life Care (PEOLC) Provincial Framework was developed with the intention of improving patient care to all Albertans regardless of the type of life limiting illness or geographic location in which one resides. The Framework was built around Alberta Health Services (AHS) seven core values and the mission of providing a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

Highlights & Progress

With the guidance of Provincial Palliative and End of Life Steering Committee comprised of various stakeholders across the province (including but not limited to patients and families, expert clinicians, academics, strategic clinical networks, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health), 36 initiatives were recommended within the framework.

Seven initiatives began development within 2014, with each initiative aimed towards improving community based healthcare services:

Provincial PEOLC EMS Assess, Treat, & Refer Project

The overall goal of this initiative is to formalize and spread a provincial PEOLC EMS program across the province of Alberta giving support to patients who are experiencing a PEOLC emergency at home. This will increase support in the community setting while avoiding the  uneccessary access and utilization of emergency department resources.

Provincial PEOLC Website for Patients, Families & Health Care Providers

A Provincial and centralized website for patients, families and healthcare providers, will be launched April 1, 2015. This website will allow access to Alberta specific PEOLC resources so that Albertans and health care providers will know who to contact and/or what services are available to support PEOLC needs in the community setting.

Enhancing 24/7 Palliative Physician On-Call Services

Develop and sustain a 24/7 on call Palliative Physician support for adult and pediatric patients across all geographies in Alberta. This will provide a centralized access for primary health care providers to access palliative physician support for PEOLC symptom management.

Clinical Pathways & Guidelines

Identify plans for PEOLC guidelines/pathway care models. An environmental scan identified 3 keys areas of need for PEOLC pathway guidelines: Enhancing Primary Care Capacity, Community Access, and Acute Care Transitions. This initiative will help clinicians integrate PEOLC earlier in the disease trajectory helping to meet patients and families PEOLC needs throughout their continuum of care.

Provincial Dashboard

The intent of a provincial dashboard is to create a live PEOLC measuring tool to guide the practice and development of PEOLC services and programs moving forward. This dashboard will measure the outcomes of the Current provincial PEOLC program and the initiatives that have been developed this fiscal year.

Advance Care Planning / Goal of Care Designation (ACP/GCD) policy.

A new Advance Care Planning / Goals of Care Designation (ACP/GCD) policy went live April 1, 2014 and was implemented across the province, while under ongoing provincial evaluation. The ACP/GCD policy and procedure is undergoing a one year review; an updated policy and procedure will go live April 1, 2015. Advance care planning is a way to help you think about, talk about, and document wishes for health care in the event you become incapable of consenting to or refusing treatment or other care. Goals of Care designation is medical order used to describe and communicate the general aim or focus of care including the preferred location of that care. For more information you may wish to access

Multiyear PEOLC Strategy & Business Plan

To help implement the remaining initiatives in the years ahead.

The next steps for the Framework initiatives will be governed by an expert panel committee (Provincial Palliative and End of Life Care Innovations Steering Committee) which provides guidance and support along the development and implementation process.

Key Facts

  • According to a recent public opinion survey from Harris/Decima, completed for the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, 86% of Albertans would prefer to die at home or in the community instead of in hospital, yet we know that in Alberta depending on location and disease, as few as 15% of people die in their homes and/or communities. The framework initiatives are designed to provide supports and services for Albertans and care providers within the primary care setting to allow more Albertans to receive care and die at in their homes and within their communities.
  • The initiatives in the framework will improve the knowledge and skills of front line workers who provide care for palliative and end of life patients which will improve system level efficiencies leading to appropriate utilization of necessary resources.
  • Albertans will be able to access information about services and programs from the provincial website, set to launch April 1, 2015, which will help patients and families receive care in their own home and community from the appropriate provider when needed for a proactive approach.

We will develop models of care within the communities so people will be supported at home. This will lead to early access to palliative and end of life services helping Albertans to have better quality of life in their palliative and end of life journey. Encompassing all facets of PEOLC, the Framework is in alignment with various stakeholders and organizations and their initiatives including:

Key Partnerships

  • Patients & Families Across Alberta
  • Primary Care Providers
  • AHS Zone & Provincial Operations
  • Strategic Clinical Networks
  • Alberta Health
  • Academic Institutions
  • External Partners Including Contracted Providers & Strategic Partners (Covenant Health)
  • Alberta Innovates Health Solutions
  • Alberta Hospice & Palliative Care Association
  • Canadian Hospice & Palliaitive Care Association
  • Pallium Canada
  • Canadian Virtual Hospice