Physicians, families need to start conversation

Categories: Opinion.

A Citizen article highlighted the importance of this guide, noting that most patients do not want to talk about death and dying, and doctors themselves are not always equipped or comfortable to start these important conversations.

Advance Care Planning in Canada, a national project that aims to start conversations about end-oflife care and help people explore their values and express their wishes is an important companion to the McMaster tool. And based on a 2012 Ipsos Reid poll, such tools are necessary. The poll found that 86 per cent of Canadians had not heard of advance care planning, 49 per cent had talked about their wishes with family members and only nine per cent of those surveyed had spoken about their end-of-life wishes with a health-care provider. Both of these resources encourage thoughtful reflections and open discussion, ensuring that end-of-life decisions are respected, paving the way to a good death.

As the article explained, these conversations can be difficult for all involved – physicians, patients, family members and caregivers. But by providing tools to physicians, and fostering conversations with the help of advance care planning, the voices of people approaching the end of life will be heard.

To learn more about advance care planning, visit

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