Strengthening a Palliative Approach in Long-term Care (SPA-LTC) is an approach to improving capacity for palliative care in long-term care settings. Our national team of health researchers developed SPA-LTC as an approach that draws together best practices in palliative care within long-term care settings across the globe.

Through pilot-testing in five Canadian provinces, our team has demonstrated that SPA-LTC resources are well-received by residents, families, and healthcare teams. We have also shown that implementing SPA-LTC has given long-term care residents, families, and care teams more confidence to support dying in long-term care.

In the next phase of our team’s research, we will trial the SPA-LTC model in 19 long-term care homes across three Canadian provinces. Out of respect for the changes and losses the long-term care sector faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, we temporarily suspended active research in long-term care beginning in March 2020.

We continue to actively promote a palliative approach to care by developing and sharing resources to support long-term care residents, families, and staff. 

Research project: CFHI (2020-2021)

Research project: Implementing & Scaling Up the Long-Term Care Palliative Toolkit During COVID
Purpose: To conduct a scale-up assessment of the new long-term care palliative toolkit, adapt the long-term care palliative toolkit for diverse regions and contexts, and evaluate the toolkit in terms of implementation and effectiveness for the participating long-term care homes
Setting: Long-term care homes in Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick
Funder: CFHI (2020-2021)

Research project: mySupport (2019-2022)

Research project: mySupport Family Carer Decision Support Intervention
Purpose: To support care home staff to engage in decision-making with family carers: scaling up an educational intervention called the Family Carer Decision Support
Setting: Long-term care homes in Canada, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom
Funder: EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (2019-2022)

Strengthening evidence

Through rigorous testing, we can develop better resources and strategies to support a palliative approach in long-term care.

The research conducted by our interprovincial team provides a significant amount of insight, but the research doesn’t need to stop here. A palliative approach to care that better addresses the needs of Canadian long-term care residents will be further developed through ongoing projects that build on existing knowledge.

strengthening consultation

Those who live and work in LTC have valuable knowledge to share. We value evidence from resident, family, and healthcare provider experience.

Sharing the knowledge gained from resident, family, and healthcare provider experience is an important way to foster change in Canada’s health system.

Strengthening impact

Through mindful collaboration between researchers and health system partners, we aim to promote quality care at the end of life as a national standard.

For maximum impact, the SPA-LTC program is rooted in evidence-based knowledge gained from local consultation, original research, and international collaboration.

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