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Evidence to Improve Care

Health Care for People Approaching End of Life

Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee Recommendations

  • All patients approaching the end of life have access to specialized interprofessional, team-based, integrated care across multiple venues.

  • Patient care planning, including advance care planning and goals of care, be discussed with patients and their informal caregivers early, periodically, and as circumstances change.

Read the full OHTAC Recommendation report

End of life means a person has an illness that is getting worse, cannot be cured, and is likely to cause his or her death. On average, 87,000 adults died in Ontario each year from 2007 to 2009. Of those, 40 percent died at home or in a long-term care facility.

People at end of life need many health care services to help manage symptoms, cope with impending death and meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. How these services are delivered can affect people’s comfort and quality of life, and how they feel about their end-of-life care.

Health Quality Ontario Reviews End-of-Life Care

Health Quality Ontario analyzed and prepared evidence-based analyses for several end-of-life care topics:

  • What factors affect the place of death

  • Patient-care planning discussions

  • How to help informal caregivers

  • Resuscitating patients

  • Patient, informal caregiver, and health care provider education

  • Team-based models of care

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care endorses these recommendations.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: The Ministry agrees with most of these recommendations, however, with regard to proactive discussion between patients and their clinicians (including with respect to CPR), the Ministry endorses a patient-centred approach. The Ministry has launched the Ontario Palliative Care Network, an organized partnership of a broad range of stakeholders, to support the Ministry’s ongoing commitment to strengthen palliative and end- of-life care in Ontario.

Health Technology Assessment at Health Quality Ontario

As part of our core function to promote health care supported by the best available evidence, we use established scientific methods to analyze the evidence for a wide range of health interventions, including diagnostic tests, medical devices, interventional and surgical procedures, health care programs and models of care. These analyses are informed by input from a range of individuals, including patients and clinical experts. The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee — a committee of the Health Quality Ontario board of directors — reviews the evidence and makes recommendations about whether health care interventions should be publicly funded or not. Draft recommendations are posted on the Health Quality Ontario website for feedback. Final recommendations are approved by our board of directors and then shared with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For more detailed information, visit our Evidence to Improve Care pages.


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