The United Conservative government is enhancing palliative care across the province.

Funding of $5 million will be provided to the Covenant Health Palliative Institute and $1 million will go to the Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association.

The money is part of the government’s $20 million commitment to improving palliative care in Alberta.

Co-payments for end-of-life drugs will also be eliminated. Every year, about 2,700 Albertans who choose to die at home or in a hospice, pay out-of-pocket for end-of-life drugs that would have been covered in hospital. The Alberta government is putting an end to co-payments so all Albertans, no matter where they choose to spend their final moments, will not have to factor the cost of drugs into their decisions.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro says Albertans deserve to spend their final moments in comfort. “Palliative care preserves the dignity of the individual by affirming their life and by providing spiritual, emotional, and family support. Our partnership with Covenant Health and the AHPCA and our decision to end co-payments, represent a first step at ensuring all Albertans are able to achieve that.”

Meanwhile, Dan Williams (MLA for Peace River), has been appointed to consult with stakeholders and Albertans to help inform plans to allocate the remainder of the $20 million (approximately $14 million) in government funding for palliative care over the next three years.