Refining a Decision-Support Model for Siting Palliative Care Services in Rural Canadian Communities

2011-2014

Nominated Principal Investigator: Dr. Valorie Crooks

CIHR Operating Grant

Palliative care comes in many forms, but in general refers to support provided to maintain quality of life for individuals living with chronic conditions at end-of-life, and the facilitation of quality of death for persons in the end stages of disease or infirmary. Rural and remote Canadian communities face particular challenges in providing diverse and specialized forms of palliation, along with other health services. Meanwhile, little research attention has been given to this issue. In this project, we are determining which rural and remote Canadian communities are most in need of palliative care service provision (based on factors such as need, vulnerability, and readiness). We are using a thoughtful approach to palliative care resource allocation and service siting, one informed by the best science available. Based on the successful completion of three-years of pilot research focused on rural and remote British Columbia, we are refining and testing a pan-Canadian decision-making framework that can assist in determining where to site new, or enhance existing, services in rural and remote communities in order to address this pressing health service need. This framework can be used to inform evidence-based decision-making and may be extended in the future to include other health services, with further research.