Palliative Care Resource Helps Ease Changes

An interactive toolkit created by a team from the University of Alberta helps palliative care patients and their care providers to deal with the physical, emotional and relationship changes that come with terminal and chronic illnesses.

The Changes Toolkit is designed to engage patients and care providers at a time when many feel isolated and overwhelmed. The print and online resource provides a foundation to start conversations and answer questions about health and life changes, goals of care, and living wills, and helps organise information like medical histories and appointments.

"There are activities throughout the toolkit designed to actively engage patients and help them make decisions while building on their own strengths," said Wendy Duggleby, lead researcher. By helping patients, families and caregivers understand end-of-life changes, the toolkit helps them deal with those changes, which are significant, she said.

"The whole idea with supporting patients and caregivers throughout these life transitions is to ensure a better outcome for patients and their family."

Duggleby announced the launch of an online version of the Changes Toolkit during National Nursing Week. The expanded reach means the resource will bring comfort to patients and families across the globe — at no cost.

The Changes Toolkit was developed after Duggleby researched palliative care in rural communities. Because it is designed to be self-administered, the toolkit helps patients and families regardless of location.

Duggleby is collaborating with Alberta Health Services to test the toolkit in both rural and urban areas. Her team is also working on creating a version for family members and caregivers of people with dementia. There is potential for partnerships with not-for-profit organisations to adapt the toolkit for First Nations and other populations.; Source: University of Alberta

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