Press Releases

Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation donates C$500,000 to Pallium Canada to increase the capacity of frontline health care professionals to provide palliative care

05 October 2020

The need for rapid upskilling of Canada’s frontline health care professionals in palliative care is more important than ever. With an aging demographic and the onset of the pandemic, it is vital that our frontline health care professionals (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, social workers, personal support workers, etc.) can provide a palliative care approach to the increasing numbers of Canadians facing serious illness.

In a new partnership launched today, Pallium Canada and the Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation are collaborating on the Li Ka Shing Palliative Care Skills Development Project to build palliative care capacity among Canada’s frontline health care professionals via Pallium’s Learning Essential Approaches to Palliative Care (LEAP) courseware. The project will reach and train health care professionals in urban, rural and remote settings on the palliative care approach.

Over 80% of the palliative care needs of patients can be managed by properly training frontline health care professionals as the palliative care approach widens the circle of care beyond palliative care specialists.

The impact of COVID-19 on health care providers to address palliative care needs for their patients suddenly became both a professional and a national health care crisis, further validating the need to rapidly create and disseminate resources and training to support health care workers during the pandemic and beyond.

The Li Ka Shing Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the world, was founded in 1980 by Hong Kong entrepreneur, Mr. Li Ka-shing, who has pledged to donate one-third of his assets to support health and education philanthropic projects around the world.

Pallium Canada is a national, non-profit organization focused on building professional, community and workplace capacity to help improve the quality and accessibility of palliative care in Canada.

“Pallium Canada is extremely grateful to the Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation for their transformational gift that will enable Pallium to accelerate palliative care capacity to benefit more Canadians. The pandemic has amplified the need for better palliative care across the continuum of care and rapidly create and disseminate education and resources to support health care professionals during the pandemic and beyond,” says Jeffrey Moat, CEO, Pallium Canada. “In a very short period of time, Pallium had thousands of health care professionals access our palliative care resources, identifying the incredible need and desire to acquire the skills to provide better care to the patients they are treating across many settings including hospitals, long-term care, and in the community.”

As the primary in-home caregiver to his wife Suzanne during her 9-year journey with cancer, Greg Graham understands the importance of palliative care that considers more than just pain and symptom management. “My family and I were very fortunate to have doctors and nurses who embodied the palliative care approach, who took the time to explain, and helped guide us, through the in-home care process. Over the 9-year period during my wife’s illness and at the end of her life, many of those we encountered helped us navigate our difficult journey and ensured Suzanne was receiving the best available care in line with her wishes,” says Greg. “Our health care providers were open, honest, and interested in helping us from both the patient and personal caregivers’ perspective. This gift to Pallium will not only ensure that more Canadians and their families who are facing serious illnesses will have access to more compassionate care, but will also be better supported, have better communication, and receive proper coaching to navigate the emotional and stressful journey. This also helps families with acceptance and recovery.”

“Palliative care education and support has been one of the key focuses of the Li Ka Shing Foundation for more than two decades after our founder, Mr. Li Ka-shing, was inspired to make a difference after witnessing the intense suffering of a friend with terminal cancer,” says Frank Sixt, President, Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation. “We are very pleased to be able to provide this investment to support Pallium’s meaningful work to accelerate the building of health care capacity to ultimately provide timelier, more effective and compassionate palliative care to more Canadians.”

Palliative care is everyone’s business, and the palliative care approach empowers all health care professionals to identify patients with palliative care needs earlier in their illness trajectory, engage in difficult conversations and goals of care discussions, and to consider the emotional, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of patients and their families, in addition to excellent pain and symptom management.

The need for the entire health care system to adopt a palliative care approach across all professions and settings of care, and within our communities, has become an issue that can no longer be ignored.

About Pallium Canada

Founded in 2000, Pallium Canada is a national, non-profit organization focused on building professional, community and workplace capacity to help improve the quality and accessibility of palliative care in Canada. Since 2014, Pallium Canada has trained more than 29,000 health care professionals on its Learning Essential Approaches to Palliative Care (LEAP) courseware through a network of over 940 certified facilitators in every province and territory who are experienced palliative care clinicians and educators.

Pallium’s work is focused in three main areas:

  • Capacity building – Pallium is the national leader in Canada providing education to frontline health care professionals and transforming practice in palliative care through its educational program LEAP. LEAP courses have measurable impact showing significant increases in attitudes, knowledge, and comfort levels of frontline health care professionals to provide a palliative care approach as well as influence health care practice and system change.
  • Community engagement – Pallium mobilizes the creation of Compassionate Communities and enables community leaders, carers, and members through the offering of practical tools and resources to better support a palliative care approach. Pallium engages workplaces through the Compassionate Workplace Campaign to help transform workplaces into compassionate environments where Canadians who are caregiving, grieving, or dealing with a serious illness receive the support they need.
  • Research and innovation – As a leader in palliative care education, Pallium is working to bridge the gap between research and practice by partnering with McMaster University’s Department of Family Medicine to form the Dr. Joshua Shadd—Pallium Canada Research Hub. The Hub is undertaking work to advance palliative care educational research and measure the impact of continuing professional development on the health care system.
About Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation

The Li Ka Shing Foundation was established in 1980 by global entrepreneur and philanthropist Li Ka-shing. Mr. Li considers the Foundation to be his “third son” and has pledged one-third of his assets to it. To date, the Foundation has granted approximately HK$27 billion (US$3.48 billion) in charitable donations.

The Foundation supports projects that promote social progress through expanding access to quality education and medical services and research, encouraging cultural diversity and community involvement.

Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation was incorporated in Canada in 2004 in recognition of the warm welcome the country has extended to Li Ka-shing and to his group of companies. Over the years the Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation has, among others, supported major projects such as a Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, an Institute of Virology at the University of Alberta, Academic Exchange Programs with the University of Manitoba, an endowed Chair professorship at the University of Calgary, the MBA Program of University of British Columbia, and a research on cellulose biomaterials at the University of Ottawa.

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For more information, please contact:
Robyn Levy
Manager, Marketing and Communications
Pallium Canada