History of the Living Lessons Campaign

The Evolution of the Living Lessons Hospice Palliative Care Campaign


Delegates at Canada's first Hospice Palliative Care Summit, organized by The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation held in November 1997, identified the critical need to develop a comprehensive public/policy strategy to influence public awareness, policy development and funding for hospice palliative care in Canada.

A national poll further reinforced the need for greater awareness of, and access to, hospice palliative care services. The results showed that only 30 per cent of respondents could define what hospice palliative care was, but that 84 per cent of Canadians identified it as the type of end-of-life care they would want to receive.

The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation embraced the findings and has worked closely with hospice palliative care organizations to develop and implement a campaign called Living Lessons®. The campaign's goal is to educate Canadians about hospice palliative care, and the options that are available to patients and their loved ones who are facing terminal illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, lung disease and ALS disease.

The purpose of the Living Lessons® campaign is to educate and inform patients, caregivers, medical professionals, policy makers and the public-at-large, about the resources and expertise available in the community that offer quality, end-of-life care.

The key messages or lessons of the campaign are based on real-life experiences documented by hospice palliative care professionals, volunteers, patients and families which support the fact there are many life lessons to be learned despite the fears, anxiety and stress that often accompanies death. These lessons include:

Hospice palliative care providers will also benefit from the campaign as it offers opportunities to raise awareness about the role and need for hospice palliative care and to develop partnerships with stakeholder groups to facilitate discussion and action on hospice palliative care.

The development of the campaign represented the beginning steps of GlaxoSmithKline’s long-term commitment toward providing funding and employee expertise to further the Canadian hospice palliative care movement.

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