The complexity of the palliative care system in BC can be a significant source of frustration for all involved: the patient, their family and caregivers, and the family physicians caring for those entering their end-of-life journey. A difficult-to-understand system, coupled with breakdowns in communication and a lack of understanding around available resources are just the tip of the iceberg. Ridge Meadows, however, is tackling these problems head on.
The Ridge Meadows Palliative Care project, which is funded by the Shared Care Committee, began in 2020 with the goal of streamlining the end-of-life journey for patients in the Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows area and improving the quality of coordinated care during this stage.
Throughout the Expression of Interest phase, the project team learned valuable lessons, including the breakdowns that sometimes happened during referrals and that, despite a wealth of resources being available for patients, most weren’t aware of what is available or how it can be accessed.
Now, as a fully funded initiative, the Ridge Meadows project team has put in significant effort to address the problems they found. This includes the successful launch of a palliative care resource in the community to streamline the massive number of existing resources into one, easy-to-use, link-based document. The team also placed a heavy emphasis on coordinating with the Hospice Society and is planning a community awareness campaign for 2023.
To date, the project has engaged with more than 40 family physicians, 36 family physicians with focused practice, and six specialists on all things palliative care.
The project will be concluding at the end of March 2023, with a final report to follow shortly after. The team will continue to work on implementing the resources and actions developed throughout the life of the project and will work towards the provincial spread of these quality-of-care improvements.