iGAP- Improving General Practice Advance Care Planning

Read more about the project here.

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is a communication process wherein people plan for a time when they cannot make decisions for themselves. It includes reflection, deliberation and determination of a person’s values and wishes or preferences for treatments at the end-of-life. Evidence supports the effectiveness of ACP to improve the end-of-life experiences of patients and families. Despite the known benefits of ACP, often people with life-limiting illnesses facing an acute health crisis have not communicated their preferences. Primary care is an ideal setting to initiate ACP because of the longitudinal and relationship-centred nature of care.

To increase the quantity and quality of ACP among older adults in primary care, we collaborated with 20 family practices in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta to uncover barriers and enablers to ACP and evaluate the effectiveness of ACP tools to engage patients.

Michelle Howard, PhD, MSc is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and an Associate Member of the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact at McMaster University. Dr. Howard completed her doctorate at McMaster, and her MSc at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include evaluating and improving primary care models and understanding the mechanisms and impacts of interprofessional care in primary care practices.