PORT Update – Nov 24, 2021
This summer, the ‘new’ Palliative Outreach Resource Team officially turned two years old! We didn’t pause to celebrate for long as we were recruited to support community efforts as the 4th wave of COVID hit the island and disproportionally impacted vulnerable populations. As many media sources have reported, COVID cases within the inner city skyrocketed around that time. As a result, many very sick individuals faced difficult choices around whether to choose medical intervention in hospital or remain at home recognizing that their life may be limited by their COVID infection. PORT rallied to create a resource to support those who may choose to remain, and possibly die, at home including information and care plans that medical and housing staff could reference should a palliative approach to care be chosen.
Simultaneous to this work, PORT has been meeting with members of the Island Health Palliative & End of Life Program to begin understanding the barriers and challenges that come with delivering equitable access to palliative care for the center and north island, including rural and remote communities. We are looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of the cultures and strengths within these communities and what equitable access to palliative care entails within these contexts.
In a somewhat related and definitely synergistic process, it was recently announced that a project proposal put forward by members of PORT and Island Health has received funding through the Doctors of BC and Ministry of Health Shared Care Initiative. This project entitled Improving Palliative Care for Vulnerable and Marginalized Populations will support family and specialist physicians, health care partners, patients, families and caregivers, to collaborate together on health care improvement in this area.
Finally, over the course of the summer, PORT supported the UVic research team in consolidating two years worth of data (July 4, 2019 – August 30, 2021). This data, both qualitative and quantitative in nature, has been gathered with the intent to better understand the impacts of the work and make recommendations as we look to the future and other teams. Preliminary data show that PORT was involved in the direct and consultative care of 123 unique individuals, 44 of whom died during this time period. PORT is working at the individual, provider, and system levels to improve access to quality care at the end-of-life through direct client care, support for friends and family, and education, support, and capacity building with providers in health care and inner city organizations. We look forward to sharing the public report with you when it’s ready!