Alberta’s $20 million commitment to improve access to palliative care for Albertans and their families is welcomed
The Covenant Health Palliative Institute in Alberta, will receive $5 million in funding to increase access to palliative and end-of-life services and promote advance care planning so Albertans can ensure their wishes are honoured.
Additionally, $1 million will be provided to the Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association (AHPCA) to establish in-person and online support groups, develop Alberta’s first telephone grief support line and expand workshops on palliative care for Albertans.
Copayments for end-of-life drugs will also be eliminated. Every year, about 2,700 Albertans who choose to die at home or in a hospice, pay out-of-pocket for end-of-life drugs that would have been covered in hospital. The Alberta government is putting an end to this inequity so all Albertans, no matter where they choose to spend their final moments, will not have to factor the cost of drugs into their decisions.
“When Albertans are diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, many do not know where to turn, or what options are available to support them and their loved ones. That’s especially the case in rural and remote areas. By raising public awareness, the Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association can help more Albertans learn how and where to access support, resources, trained professionals and kind hands who can help guide them through the stress, fear and sadness of this difficult time.” Kristi Puchbauer, executive director, Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association
Dan Williams, MLA for Peace River, has also been appointed to consult with stakeholders and Albertans to help inform plans to allocate the remainder of the $20 million (approximately $14 million) in government funding for palliative care over the next three years.