Online tool helps plan end-of-life care

(l-r) Advance care planning project coordinator Carolyn Villard, Hospice PEI board member Linda Callard, Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson and Dr. Mireille Lecours, provincial palliative care medical consultant

It will now be easier for Islanders to start the often difficult conversation about their own end-of-life care.

Health PEI’s new online Advance Care Planning Workbook guides users through the key steps to clearly communicate and outline their wishes for health and personal care.  In Canada, 60 per cent of individuals believe that it is important to talk about end-of-life care but only five per cent have spoken with their primary care provider about it.

“It is important for us to all be talking about advance care planning and helping Islanders document their wishes in case they can’t speak for themselves,” Hospice PEI Board Member Linda Callard said. “We are so pleased to have been able to work in partnership with the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association and Health PEI to develop these new advance care planning materials for Islanders.” 

The interactive workbook includes questions to help Islanders think about the values and beliefs that influence their choice of health care options; definitions of medical terms they will need to know to make informed decisions about their health care options; and other information to help communicate with their health care team and family.

“Many people think that advance care planning discussions are about death and dying, but they are really about how well you want to live,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson said. “These are personal, individual choices that every Islander deserves to make for themselves, and I encourage all Islanders to ensure that their loved ones are aware of their advance care wishes.”

Advance care planning improves a patient’s overall quality of life, quality of end-of-life care, and communication with families, according to research by the National Advance Care Planning Task Group. It also reduces stress and anxiety for patients and families, health care providers, and the health care system.

“Talking about end-of-life and the care you want or don’t want can be very difficult and overwhelming, especially with family members and loved ones,” said Dr. Mireille Lecours, provincial palliative care medical consultant. “As difficult as the conversation may be, we really hope that Islanders will embrace this process and take the time to make an advance care plan for themselves.”

To further support the new online workbook, Health PEI has created an advance care planning brochure in partnership with the PEI Chapter of the College of Family Physicians. The brochure is being mailed to all households across the province later this month.

Media contact:
Amanda Hamel
Senior Communications Officer
Health PEI
(902) 368-6135

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