Background In 2014, Alberta’s health service providers implemented a province-wide Advance Care Planning (ACP) and Goals of Care Designation policy. Despite significant efforts, barriers to full implementation remain including lack of public comprehension across health, legal and other public systems. A World Café consultation revealed multi jurisdictional recommendations to ‘normalize ACP.’
Methods Through the ACP Collaborative Research Innovation Opportunities program, we formed a collaboration with lawyers, Legal Education Society of Alberta, Canadian Bar Association, Law Society of Alberta, palliative care physicians, patient advocates, academics, provincial health care providers and other stakeholders. A community of practice propagated spontaneously. Surveys and focus groups identified barriers, knowledge and resource gaps, and novel solutions, including joint health-legal education.
Results Traditional approaches to ACP have been siloed. We expand on the innovative medico-legal framework to include other stakeholders including community agencies, faith groups, health advocacy agencies, national ACP projects, and the financial planning and insurance industries. Ongoing collaborative activities include community engagement, education, policy and practice innovation, which bundles activities relating to health care planning with those relating to personal and financial planning. Our business case addresses the identified gaps and adopts public recommendations through activities to coordinate, integrate and/or support development/implementation of a community volunteer program, an electronic registry for ACP and Goals of Care documentation, and a legal toolkit.
Conclusion In practice, ACP spans medical, legal, social and personal domains. Multi-disciplinary and multi-sector approaches are posited to improve knowledge and uptake of ACP while improving the quality of life of Albertans.
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