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Advance care planning in British Columbia: awareness and engagement (2012–2020)


Objectives This study examines trends in advance care planning (ACP) awareness, engagement, attitude and experiences among the public in British Columbia (BC), Canada, from 2012 to 2020. This time period is of relevance as it includes provincial education initiatives. We also explored demographic characteristics associated with lower ACP awareness and engagement, to inform future initiatives.

Methods Longitudinal data from two provincial polls in 2016 and 2020, along with BC-specific data extracted from a national poll in 2012, were analysed to investigate ACP awareness, engagement and attitudes. Demographic characteristics associated with ACP were examined using binomial and ordinal logistic regression.

Results We observed an increase in awareness of ACP between 2012 and 2020 (from 15.2% to 32.9%). A significant rise in engagement was also observed, with more respondents reporting ACP conversations with healthcare providers between 2016 and 2020 (8.8%–14%) and documenting their healthcare wishes since 2012 (11.6%–28.0%). Demographic analysis revealed that older, female and more educated individuals were more likely to participate in ACP activities.

Conclusions This study highlights positive trends in ACP awareness and engagement in BC over the study period. Despite lower rates in some variables, the observed increases suggest increasing awareness over time, with potential for further improvement. However, disparities persist among different demographic groups, highlighting the need for targeted efforts to improve ACP knowledge and participation, especially among younger adults, males, single individuals and those with lower education levels.

  • Advance Care Planning
  • Advance Directives

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