Covenant Health

Covenant Health Palliative Institute launches new provincial initiative to promote advance care planning

ACP Alberta project to span healthcare, law, financial services and other sectors to help Albertans plan for their future.

EDMONTON, April 15, 2021 – The Covenant Health Palliative Institute is launching an intensive two-year campaign to equip Albertans to effectively determine, communicate and document key aspects of their personal, health and financial plans that can affect their future care.

Under the auspices of Alberta Health and Alberta Justice and Solicitor General and funded by an Alberta Health grant, the Advance Care Planning (ACP) Alberta project aims to provide education and practical supports related to advance care planning by way of partnerships in relevant sectors outside health care, including law, banking and financial planning.

“Advance care planning brings peace of mind to Albertans and their families, especially in times of heightened health worries due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Jessica Simon, researcher at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and project advisor. “However, only one third of Albertans have heard of advance care planning and many people are unsure how to get started.”

The ACP Alberta project is the latest in a series of pioneering provincial initiatives to promote advance care planning. This project is based in large part on the work of the Alberta Innovates-funded Advance Care Planning Collaborative Research and Innovation Opportunities (ACP CRIO) initiative, which ran from 2013 until 2019 and focused on establishing best practices for promoting advance care planning across a complex, multisector healthcare system.

“Alberta has been a leader in the advancement of ACP nationally for over a decade,” said Dr. Konrad Fassbender, scientific director of the Covenant Health Palliative Institute. “Alberta was the first province to adopt the internationally recognized Conversations Matter program, and the ACP CRIO project did much to identify barriers to ACP, provide education and develop concrete solutions. We have a great body of expertise across multiple sectors, and this project aims to put this into action.”

The launch of ACP Alberta comes ahead of Advance Care Planning Day (April 16), a nationwide promotion spearheaded by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) where Canadians are encouraged to set aside time to talk openly with family, friends and loved ones about their wishes for their future health care.

For more information on advance care planning in Canada, visit My Health Alberta, Alberta Health Services’ online ACP resources or the ACP Canada website. For more information about ACP Alberta, contact the Covenant Health Palliative Institute at palliative.institute@covenanthealth.ca.

“Palliative care is a key priority for the government and we are pleased to support this very important and much needed project,” said Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro. “Advance care planning must be seen as an essential part of health care thinking and empowers Albertans to reflect upon, discuss and record their future health care needs and personal wishes with their family, caregivers and health providers.” 

Covenant Health is Canada’s largest Catholic health care organization and a key partner in Alberta’s integrated health system. Covenant Health launched the Palliative Institute in October 2012, envisioning a future where every Albertan can make informed choices about their care and where caregivers have the knowledge, expertise and resources to support them. It is the institute’s role to serve as a knowledge broker and problem solver for patients and families, clinicians, policymakers, caregivers and researchers, and to lead informed public conversation about palliative issues.

 

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Media Contact:
Benjamin Freeland, Communications Advisor                                                     
Covenant Health Palliative Institute                        
Phone or text: 780.886.3255
Email: benjamin.freeland@covenanthealth.ca