Innovative palliative care program receives funding from the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa

The Kiwanis Club of Ottawa is pleased to announce a $20,000 donation in support of the OutCare Foundation’s Telelink program, which will connect palliative care teams in Ottawa and rural surrounding areas through video conference technology.

Remote communities will have better access to the latest palliative care medical research. Two-way distance consultations with specialist teams will result in better assessment of symptoms and improved care for patients. Rural hospice staff will also be able to receive specialized training in the latest palliative treatments and research through video workshops and seminars.

Ottawa hospitals will also greatly benefit from Telelink by connecting the sites within the city limits to one another. For example, the volunteers at the Friends of Hospice in Kanata will be able to connect with the team at the Hospice at May Court for training purposes. And teams at Hospice at May Court will be able to connect with the pain and symptom management team at Bruyere Continuing Care for symptom management advice.

“Kiwanis is proud to support a program that will greatly improve the quality of life for so many palliative patients and their families,” said Alison Hunter, president of the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa. “It’s important that all palliative care sites, both rural and urban, have the same access to new medical research so that patients can receive the best care possible.”

Telelink will operate at 12 sites in Eastern Ontario that serve over 6,000 palliative patients. The program is a collaborative effort involving the OutCare Foundation, the Champlain Hospice Palliative Care Program, the Ontario Telemedicine Network and the 12 sites.

The program will be a breakthrough for the medical community, said John Bradley, chairman of the OutCare Foundation. The high definition cameras used for Telelink will be top of the line and responsive, meaning they move when someone in the room speaks, which is important in order to create an immersive experience and demonstrate the use of medical equipment.

“Responsive video cameras will bring the telemedicine experience to life,” said Bradley. “Video conferencing, whether for distance consults or education, is not used frequently in palliative care so this will be very innovative for this sector of care and, in particular, for the Eastern Ontario region.”

“As our population continues to age, the need for palliative care is greater than ever before,” said Bradley. “If improvements to palliative care and services are not made, the need for more care will only increase with the number of people who require it.”

“The Kiwanis Club of Ottawa hopes that its commitment to the project will encourage others in the community to follow suit and support the OutCare Foundation,” said Hunter.

About the OutCare Foundation

Founded in 1984, the OutCare Foundation supports patients and their families by raising funds for special projects at palliative care organizations across the community. It is committed to helping ensure that available care is readily accessible; supporting the unpaid caregivers and volunteers who play a crucial role in palliative care; improving access to care and support services by connecting people to information; and expanding knowledge through education.

About the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa

Since 1917 the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa has been active in fundraising and community involvement as a not-for-profit organization. The largest Kiwanis Club in Canada, the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa is one of the most active and dynamic service clubs in the world. Each year the Club provides thousands of hours of community service and raises $600,000 for the local community. Projects carried on by Kiwanis in the Ottawa area include the Kiwanis Read-a-thon, the Kiwanis Music Festival and the “Reading is Fundamental” project running at Connaught Public School. The Kiwanis Club of Ottawa Direct Assistance Committee coordinates the review and approval of various funding requests from assigned community groups or eligible individuals. Projects and organizations are assigned funding based on criteria that are consistent with the Kiwanis mandate of helping to build a better community.