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Quality of Life & Patient Experience


Having cancer is an intensely personal experience. Ultimately, the patient’s experience and quality of life define excellence in care as much as the clinical outcome. Optimal care ensures that patients' and families' needs and preferences are respected at every stage. Person-centred care addresses physical health along with psychological, social and cultural concerns. Sensitivity to these issues is particularly important in discussing treatment options and especially in advance care planning.

This goal also addresses the need to  promote patient and family engagement in designing healthcare improvements that directly affect their care.


Image of Anya H.

“I am sure it is hard for doctors and nurses to face their patients’ death. And I don’t expect them all to have the expertise to deal with palliative issues. But there should be someone who can help us through this bewildering and terribly difficult time, and they should start talking to us about palliative care as soon as a life-threatening diagnosis is made.”

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Ensure the delivery of responsive and respectful care, optimizing individuals’ quality of life across the cancer care continuum.

Strategic Objectives

  • Drive excellence in the development of policies, programs, strategies and evaluation by partnering with patients and their families to ensure services and care reflect their needs and preferences.
  • Expand and integrate access to palliative, psychosocial and rehabilitation services to improve quality of life and patient experience in cancer centres and the community.
  • Capture a range of real time patient-reported information that is meaningful to patients to improve the quality of care.
  • Increase understanding of wait times from the patient's perspective and identify opportunities to improve the patient experience.
  • Support healthcare providers, patients and families with training, tools and resources to improve communication, decision-making, self-management and quality of life.

By 2019

  • Patients will report that cancer care was delivered in a manner that recognized their needs and preferences.
  • Patient needs for palliative care and advanced care planning are addressed early in the cancer care continuum. Patients will have timely access to psychosocial and palliative care as appropriate.
  • Patients will have opportunities to report on their symptoms for specific disease sites in real time and have their symptoms addressed.
  • There will be improved information and communication resulting in a better experience for those waiting for care.
  • Patients and their families will have access to the resources, tools, knowledge and support they need to help them manage their care.
  • Patients will have discussions with their provider about advance care planning and will have the information they need to make informed decisions.

Examples of Initiatives

  • Provide support, training, tools and mechanisms for primary care providers to better identify and support patients in the palliative care and survivorship phases of the cancer care continuum.
  • Develop training and tools to help care providers better address patient psychosocial needs.
  • Complete implementation of real-time patient experience measures, expand the electronic reporting of symptoms and develop symptom management tools for clinician and patient use.