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An Analysis of Documents Guiding Palliative Care in Five Canadian Provinces

  • Carolyn Hill (a1), Wendy Duggleby (a2), Lorraine Venturato (a3), Pamela Durepos (a1), Pereya Kulasegaram (a1), Paulette Hunter (a4), Lynn McCleary (a5), Tamara Sussman (a6), Genevieve Thompson (a7), Doug Surtees (a4), Abigail Wickson-Griffiths (a8) and Sharon Kaasalainen (a1)...


The purpose of this study was to analyse the consistency and extent of palliative content across high-level guiding documents related to the care of persons residing in Canadian long-term care homes. A systematic search was conducted examining documents at the national level and across five provinces (Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec). Twenty-five documents were selected based on inclusion criteria from 273 documents identified in the systematic search. The majority of these documents were created nationally (48%) or in Ontario (28%). Documents varied in palliative topics discussed, and long-term care was discussed minimally. A minimal number of palliative care guiding documents were found. Long-term care specific documents were absent, and all documents lacked consistency on palliative topics. It is imperative that palliative principles are present and consistent in high-level documents in order to improve the quality of life and care for long-term care residents across Canada.

Cette étude avait pour but d’analyser le niveau de concordance et la portée du contenu en matière de soins palliatifs dans les documents directeurs de haut niveau visant les soins pour les personnes résidant en centres de soins de longue durée au Canada. Une recherche systématique a été menée en vue d’analyser les documents de niveau national et ceux provenant de cinq provinces (Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Québec). Vingt-cinq documents ont été sélectionnés en fonction des critères d’inclusion à partir de 273 documents identifiés dans la recherche systématique. La majorité de ces documents ont été créés sur le plan national (48 %) ou en Ontario (28 %). Les sujets abordés variaient en matière de soins palliatifs et les soins de longue durée n’étaient que minimalement traités. Un nombre restreint de documents directeurs sur les soins palliatifs ont été relevés. Aucun de ces documents ne traitait spécifiquement des soins de longue durée, et les documents identifiés manquaient d’uniformité en matière de soins palliatifs. Il est essentiel que les principes encadrant les soins palliatifs soient présentés et concordants dans les documents directeurs afin d’améliorer la qualité de vie et les soins pour les résidents en soins de longue durée à travers le Canada.


Corresponding author

La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à : / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: Sharon Kaasalainen, R.N., Ph.D. McMaster University 1280 Main St. W Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8 Canada (


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This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Grant No. 337678, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Grant No. 06718, Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Grant No. 454 3316, Manitoba Health Research Council Grant No. PHE-141804, Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Grant No. 10012108 and Extendicare Canada.

We thank the McMaster University School of Nursing Librarian, Laura Banfield, for her contributions to our search strategy and gratefully acknowledge the Partnerships for Health System Improvement team and their contributions to our completed study and manuscript.

The authors have no competing interests to declare. The funders provided funding based on the research grant application. They had no role in the design of the study; data collection, analysis, and interpretation; or writing of the manuscript.



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