Queen's University

Canadians aren't prepared for end of life

 
2012-04-04

Ipsos-Reid national poll results released this week indicate Canadians are not planning for end of life care. The poll, commissioned by Queen’s University professor of medicine Daren Heyland, was conducted to better understand whether average Canadians are engaging in advance care planning.

The results are in advance of National Advance Care Planning Day next week and the release of the Advance Care Planning Evaluation in Elderly Patients (ACCEPT), a study led by Dr. Heyland through his work as scientific director of Canadian Researchers at the End of Life Network (CARENET).

The poll results indicated 86 per cent of Canadians have not heard of advance care planning, only nine per cent had ever spoken to a healthcare provider about their wishes for care and 80 per cent of Canadians do not have a written plan.

“These results show we have a long way to go to planning our own end-of-life experience or communicating with our loved ones to make sure we reflect their values at end-of –life,” says Dr. Heyland, who is also a staff physician at Kingston General Hospital.

The current research evidence supports the notion that the absence of Advance Care Planning, in all its forms, was associated with worse patients’ ratings of quality of life in the terminal phase of the illness and worse ratings of satisfaction by the family during the terminal illness or in the months that follow death.

Furthermore, research indicates that patients who have end of life conversations with health professionals and family members are much more likely to be satisfied with their care, require fewer aggressive medical interventions at the end of life and are more likely to take advantage of hospice resources or die at home.

Visit the Advance Care Planning website for more information.

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