Advocacy Update Ė Hospice Palliative Care Ontario


As a result of the meeting with John Fraser, MPP, on February 22, 2018, Andrew Lewarne, Executive Director and CEO of the RMTAO met with the President and CEO of Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO) on March 9, 2018.

Hospice Palliative Care Ontario is a provincial association of hospices and palliative care providers, professionals, and volunteers throughout Ontario. There are currently 85 hospice programs in Ontario, 44 of which are in-patient programs. They have recently been informed that there is additional funding for 200 more beds in these programs.

HPCO will be publishing an article provided by the RMTAO in their e-newsletter to their members, which include organizations with a primary focus of hospice palliative care, as well as individuals with an interest in furthering access to quality hospice palliative care. The article will include evidence-based information on the positive effects of massage therapy for palliative patients and the benefits of incorporating massage therapy into palliative care organizations.

Furthermore, HPCO will be distributing research and information about massage therapy at their upcoming April conference. There will also be a slide included in the rolling slide deck about the benefits of massage therapy for palliative patients. These initiatives will help to increase awareness of the benefits of massage therapy and the role that massage therapists can play to provide pain and other symptom relief, and to improve quality of life, from the patientís diagnosis and throughout the course of the patientís illness. The RMTAO will be providing these resources to be distributed to HPCO members.

In addition, there is interest by HPCO to provide support to a research project relating to massage therapy and palliative care. HPCO is very proactive in promoting research into the effectiveness of various modalities in palliative care and HPCO will advocate for a hospice facility to engage in massage therapy research if a project were to be proposed. The RMTAO will further investigate this opportunity to increase the body of research relating to the effect of massage therapy on symptom and pain management in palliative care patients, and encourage this research to be conducted by a Registered Massage Therapist in a hospice facility in Ontario.

The RMTAO will continue to engage with HPCO to increase awareness of the benefits of massage therapists for their membersí patient base. The RMTAO is encouraged by these new opportunities for RMTs within the healthcare system and will continue to pursue further initiatives.