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Imagine a time when hospice palliative care is available to Canadians when and where they need it; where living well until death is the goal of care.

The Way Forward – a roadmap for an integrated palliative approach to care – can help us get there. Changes are already underway in care settings across the country. You can be part of the change.

An integrated palliative approach to care focuses on meeting a person’s and family’s full range of needs – physical, psychosocial and spiritual – at all stages of frailty or chronic illness, not just at the end of life. It reinforces the person’s autonomy and right to be actively involved in his or her own care – and strives to give individuals and families a greater sense of control.

It sees hospice palliative care as less of a discrete service offered to dying persons when treatment is no longer effective and more of a simultaneous or integrated approach to care that can enhance their quality of life throughout the course of their illness or the process of aging.

Healthcare providers in the primary care or community setting, supported by specialist palliative care teams when needed, deliver care in a wide variety of settings from a patient's home or long-term care facilities, to hospitals in cities, rural communities and remote areas. It's an integrated palliative approach that makes sense for patients, for families and caregivers, for health care teams and for our health system. But we needed a road map―a guide―to help us get there.

The 37 organizations that make up the Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada led the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, which managed the project. The goal was to develop the National Framework so that an integrated palliative approach to care could become a reality, not just in a few communities, but throughout the country. This was possible thanks to the Government of Canada, which provided a one-time funding of $3 million to the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and its partners to develop The Way Forward from 2012-2015. 

The Way Forward initiative resulted from the Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada's Blueprint for Action 2010-2020, which identified as a priority that all Canadians should have access to high-quality hospice palliative and end-of-life care. 

The Way Forward is a road map to an integrated palliative approach that supports earlier and more frequent conversations about the goals of care when patients and families are faced with a life-threatening illness. It includes a tool kit of resources and best practices. It offers suggestions for removing the barriers to integrated hospice palliative care, and encourages groups to build opportunities for their own communities. The Way Forward will help Canadians with chronic or life-threatening illnesses understand the importance of advance care planning, and the hospice palliative care services that are available to them.