The Canadian Researchers at the End of Life Network (CARENET) is a group of health care professionals from across the country that collaborate with each other to understand and improve palliative and end-of-life care.

Advance care planning (ACP), involving discussions between patients, families and healthcare professionals on future healthcare decisions, in advance of anticipated impairment in decision-making capacity, improves satisfaction and end-of-life care while respecting patient autonomy. It usually results in the creation of a written advanced care directive (ACD). This systematic review examines the impact of ACP on several outcomes (including symptom management, quality of care and healthcare utilisation) in older adults (>65years) across all healthcare settings. Read more about the study.

This month the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) is calling on the government to make hospice palliative care a priority with its month-long campaign running from October 8 – November 10.

  1. Objective: To assess the feasibility, acceptability and clinical sensibility of a novel survey, the advance care planning (ACP) Engagement Survey, in various healthcare settings. See the article on BMJ Open. 

A new CIHR-funded study conducted by CARENET members and researchers at the University of Calgary will develop and evaluate a family-partnered care pathway for critically ill older patients (>70 yrs.) admitted to the intensive care unit. Read a synopsis of the project.

Read about an ICU nurse's first hand experience with family-centred care in the ICU. 


Practicing healthcare professionals and graduates exiting training programs are often ill-equipped to facilitate important discussions about end-of-life care with patients and their families. We conducted a systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness of educational interventions aimed at providing healthcare professionals with training in end-of-life communication skills, compared to usual curriculum.

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As part of the 2016 Budget, Ontario is promising to invest and additional $75 million over three years to provide patients with more options and access to palliative and end-of-life care.
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A UBC researcher is pointing towards the need for oncologists to have advance care planning and end-of-life discussions with cancer patients sooner rather than later.

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When people plan for the future, they tend to stick to milestones like education, first home and maybe even retirement.

It can be much more difficult to take on the less pleasant, more final milestones like dealing with cancer or incapacity. 

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Our resource library has links to decision aids, tools, publications, videos and more.

Do you have a palliative or end-of-life story to tell? Share your story - and read about experiences from other Canadians

CARENET Director Dr. Daren Heyland was recently interviewed by ICU Management Journal about the Network and recent research projects.

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Our health-care system focuses on fixing everything we can when a patient is ill. But when someone is nearing the end of life, this approach may no longer be what the patient and their families need or want most. And it may mean such patients don't receive the best care.

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Canadians are likely to have many important conversations with their loved ones over the holidays, but probably most won't talk about what should happen in the event they could no longer speak or make medical decisions for themselves.

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When Dr. Lenore Zou, a family physician in Dundas, Ontario, decided to participate in the Improving Advance Care Planning in General Practice (i-GAP) research project, she was looking forward to learning more about ACP and evaluating the project tools to help her patients have these conversations.  And while she's found that most patients and families are receptive to the tools, she's also discovered that some are just not ready to talk.
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When illness strikes, there is a certain comfort in knowing that one has planned ahead by letting someone they trust know what to do regarding personal care and medical treatments, if in the event we are unable to make decisions for ourselves.
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Yesterday Dr. Daren Heyland discussed CPR in hospitals on As it Happens.
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The Economist has released its Quality of Life Index for 2015.
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CARENET's Family Satisfaction in the ICU questionnaire was positively reviewed in Critical Care Medicine

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Dr. Amy Tran recounts the death of one of her patients and how it haunts her to this day.
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Advance care planning can result in more positive experiences for patients, families and health professionals
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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.
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The first time I saw Jessa, she lay crumpled in the ICU bed, paralyzed, expressionless and unable to speak. A military veteran, she had fought in Desert Storm, but she now was facing a deadlier and more inexorable foe: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig's disease.
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Rapper ZDoggMD addresses end-of-life issues in his remix Ain't the Way to Die.
Watch the video>

Listen to the re-broadcast of the end-of-life and palliative care episode of The Current. It focuses on the importance of talking about end-of-life wishes. You can also listen to a documentary about two very different people, each facing the final chapter of their life.

Listen to the discussion here>
Listen to the documentary here>

Seven Queen's professors earn more than $8.8 million in operating grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Read More>

"Humanizing the environment when somebody is dying can be a challenge in the ICU. And it's this challenge that were trying to address, among others ... tithe the three wishes program." Read More>

Researchers found that playing a game may help large numbers of people share their advance care plan
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The Department of Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary in conjunction with CancerControl Alberta, Alberta Health Services at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre and the Clinical Departments of Oncology and Family Medicine, Calgary Zone, invite applications for a full-time academic position within the discipline of Palliative Medicine, at the Assistant Professor level or higher. 
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Discussions on how people want to die don't happen soon enough. Read more>

The Supreme Court has lifted the ban on physician-assisted dying. Find out what this means for organizations like CARENET in this latest communique from the Canadian Medical Association. Read more>

Journalist Sharon Kirkey explores end of life care in Canada's hospitals.
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