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About Us

What is the Edmonton Zone Palliative Care Program?

The Edmonton Zone Palliative Care Program (EZPCP) is a program that coordinates palliative care services in the Edmonton Zone health Region. This program: sets the standards for the palliative care provided, ensures the transfer of people and information works well, provides palliative care education to the public and health care staff and supports research.

Palliative Care in the Edmonton Zone health region can be provided though either home care, hospice care, hospital care, the Tertiary Palliative Care Unit, or through outpatient clinics. Palliative care services are provided by a team that includes family doctors and nurses. The team centers around the person and their family. Other members of the team may include: dieticians, homemakers, occupational therapists, chaplain, pharmacists, physiotherapists, recreational therapists, rehabilitation assistants, respiratory therapists, social workers, volunteers and palliative care consultants

Program History

The Edmonton Zone Palliative Care Program (EZPCP), formerly called The Regional Palliative Care Program (RPCP) EZPCP Team is a community based model of palliative care services designed to increase access to high quality, cost effective palliative care services. The program has focused on providing access to palliative care support in the home and in all region health care institutions, while shifting the main area of end-of-life care from acute care, to home and hospice (hospices are in continuing or long term care facilities). As outlined in the objectives below, the program addresses clinical, educational, research and operational areas.

The Edmonton Zone Palliative Care Program (EZPCP) has been in operation since July 1995. Previously, access to palliative care services was inconsistent. Two palliative care units existed, one at the Edmonton General Hospital, and at the Misericordia Hospital. In 1992, 21% (290 patients), of all cancer patients dying in the region had access to these services. Palliative home care was also providing care in the community. In the 1999/2000 reporting year, access to palliative care consultation for cancer patients was 79.4% (Appendix 1). The EZPCP has maintained this level of increased access through the community-based model of care every year since the program began. Although access to palliative care is reported for cancer patients, the program also supports patients with other diagnoses. In 1999/2000, ten percent of patients seen (126/1273) were patients with other diagnoses.

In 1992, 78% of oncology patients died in acute care hospitals, with an average of 20,000 patient days per year. In 1999/2000, the number of acute care days was 7639 a decrease of 14979 patient care days (Appendix 2-4). To meet this goal and sustain the decrease of acute care patient days, services were enhanced in the home, hospice and consultation to allow the transfer of care to other settings.

Central to the program is a patient and family focus (Appendix 5), with outcomes outlining the direction of the program. The components of care; home care and family physicians, outpatient clinics, palliative hospice, Edmonton Zone consultants, acute care (referral hospitals) and tertiary palliative care unit are centrally coordinated by the Edmonton zone office (Appendix 6). The education and research programs are coordinated with the activities of the Division of Palliative Care Medicine, Department of Oncology, University of Alberta. Patients and their families have access to palliative care consultants regardless of the care setting. The program has criteria for admission for each level of care (Appendix 7), assisting in the streamlining of care for patients.

An advisory committee representing stakeholders from the community, home care, continuing care, acute care, Cross Cancer Institute, Alberta Health, and family practitioners provided input into the design and early operation of the program (Appendix 8). This committee no longer meets, with regional input being accessed as required. A Zone Program Council including higher level administrators has now replaced  the former Regional Council with the creation of a monthly Rapid Rounds teleconference meeting for all clinical teams.

Our Mission

The mission, vision, philosophy and goals of the Edmonton Zone Palliative Care Program can be found in the following PDF file. This document is anticipated to be useful to multiple audiences including members of the Emonton zone palliative care team, other palliative care health professionals and the general public.

Click here to read about our mission, vision, philosophy, and goals.

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