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Can Fam Physician. Nov 1997; 43: 1983-6, 1989-92.
PMCID: PMC2255184

Innovative palliative care in Edmonton.


PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED: Access to palliative care in Edmonton has been hampered by uneven development, poor distribution of services, and more recently, economic restraints. Family physicians' involvement in palliative care has been hindered by the variety of access points, poor coordination, and inadequate reimbursement for time-consuming and difficult patient care situations. OBJECTIVE OF PROGRAM: To provide high-quality palliative care throughout Edmonton in all settings, with patients able to move easily throughout the components of the program; to lower costs by having fewer palliative care patients die in acute care facilities; and to ensure that family physicians receive support to care for most patients at home or in palliative care units. MAIN COMPONENTS OF PROGRAM: The program includes a regional office, home care, and consultant teams. A specialized 14-bed palliative care unit provides acute care. Family physicians are the primary caregivers in the 56 palliative continuing care unit beds. CONCLUSIONS: This program appears to meet most of the need for palliative care in Edmonton. Family physicians, with support from consulting teams, have a central role. Evaluation is ongoing; an important issue is how best to support patients dying at home.

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Selected References

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