Knowledge gap about advance care planning led U of A researcher to investigate how to engage and educate people.

Adrianna MacPherson - 11 February 2021

A researcher at the University of Alberta is helping to bridge a gap in Canadians’ knowledge about palliative care—and how to plan ahead for it.

In a 2016 IPSOS public poll, half of Canadians surveyed said they were unfamiliar with the terms “palliative care” and “advance care planning.”

“As patients and families with serious illness needing care go, if only half of them even know the terms, they don’t know how to plan or what to expect for care,” said Konrad Fassbender, assistant professor in the Division of Palliative Care Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

Along with Neil Hagen and Jessica Simon from the University of Calgary, Fassbender launched the Advance Care Planning Collaborative Research & Innovation Opportunities Program (ACP CRIO), a six-year study aimed at identifying the most effective ways to engage and educate the public on the subject. The team received two grants to help address the important gap and ultimately increase access to quality palliative care services.