SPA-LTC is a program of research aimed at Strengthening a Palliative Approach in Long-Term Care.

The program’s goals are to: Improve capacity for a palliative approach to care in LTC homes

  • Introduce new, free resources to support LTC homes with implementing a palliative approach to care
  • Increase knowledge about the impact of palliative approaches to care in LTC homes
  • Help support LTC homes with meeting new palliative accreditation standards

Strengthening a Palliative Approach in Long Term Care (SPA-LTC) consists of core, components (listed below) which are all informed by research evidence. Our team works with homes to find ways to introduce these components in a way that is feasible for their particular context.

  • Interdisciplinary Champion Teams (to provide leadership and support implementation)
  • Palliative Care Education, including resources for staff and family members
  • Comfort Care Rounds with staff (for capacity building and reflection)
  • Prognostic Tools to trigger end-of-life discussions
  • Palliative Care Conferences
  • Post-Bereavement Follow-Up for residents, families, and staff

We are doing a randomized, controlled trial across 19 LTC homes in 3 provinces (7 in Ontario, 6 in Manitoba, 6 in Saskatchewan) to evaluate the SPA-LTC program and to answer these research questions:

  • Does SPA-LTC improve resident comfort and family satisfaction?
  • Does SPA-LTC result in decreased hospital visits for LTC residents?
  • How does SPA-LTC need to be adapted so that it can be further scaled-up in LTC homes across Canada?

This project will launch in April 2020 and run until May 2023.

Our team members are from seven universities across Canada:

  • Brock University – Dr. Lynn McCleary
  • McMaster University – Dr. Sharon Kaasalainen
  • McGill University – Dr. Tamara Sussman
  • University of Manitoba – Dr. Genevieve Thompson
  • University of Regina – Dr. Abigail Wickson-Griffiths
  • University of Saskatchewan – Dr. Paulette Hunter
  • University of Calgary – Dr. Lorraine Venturato

Or visit our website:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).