News & Events
Quality Improvement Project – Physician Recruitment
We have just begun an exciting new quality improvement (QI) project and are looking for participation by Health Care Professionals, to help us recruit additional sites. The goal of this project is to develop an efficient tool to enable family doctors to engage patients to do serious illness planning via Plan Well Guide and to use e-messages (automated electronic reminders) to help move the patient along in the planning process. We aim to build an electronic platform to facilitate these patient-doctor interactions and would value your participation in helping us recruit approximately 30 patients to test out our novel system over the next few months.
Latest News Coverage
CBC, The Current with Matt Galloway, May 25, 2020
May 25, 2020
Rosemary Barton (Guest host)
CBC, The Current
Dr. Heyland was featured on CBC’s radio program, The Current, alongside guest host, Rosemary Barton. The segment focused around COVID-19, specifically how the pandemic is spurring more people to discuss their end-of-life plans with their loved ones. Dr.Heyland highlighted the difference between planning for end-of-life and planning for serious illness, explaining how COVID-19 is an example of a serious illness. The message around why it’s so important for people to have a plan in these times is one we hope many are hearing loud and clear. The time to have the conversation with your loved ones and make a plan, is now!
We encourage you to listen to the segment, which begins at the 56-minute mark. The link to listen directly online is available here: https://bit.ly/3ej6IMc
Kingstonist, April 23, 2020
April 23, 2020
By Daren Heyland
With COVID-19 media coverage continuing to represent front page news across many publications, Dr. Heyland felt it was important to share his opinion around why it’s so important that people receive the medical care that is right for them, during a serious illness. His opinion piece in the Kingstonist highlights that in order for someone to get the medical care that is right for them, they need to learn and understand how medical decisions are made when people are seriously ill, and what they have to say and how best to work with the doctors so they get the medical care that is right for them. It is important to note that any advance care planning that people may have done, has likely been focused on ‘end of life’ care, which will not be helpful in the current situation of COVID-19. Planning for end of life care, when you know for certain you are dying, is not the same as planning for serious illness. COVID-19 is an example of a serious illness where there is a probability of death, but as well as a probability of survival. Dr. Heyland strongly encourages people to prepare for serious illness and to go through the serious illness planning program available through the Plan Well Guide as it can help to ensure a sense of peace of mind, knowing that you have your serious illness plan in place.
To read the full article visit the link here: https://bit.ly/2VyfW0o
The Lethbridge Herald, April 22, 2020
April 22, 2020
By Daren Heyland
The Lethbridge Herald
In response to all the media coverage regarding COVID-19, Dr. Heyland submitted an article highlighting some of the ways people can prepare for the pandemic, specifically preparing for serious illness. The key factor to prepare for serious illness is based around the notion of learning and understanding how medical decisions are made when seriously ill, along with what to say and how best to work with doctors, to ensure the medical care that is right for you or a loved one is obtained. For most people, any advance medical care planning that may have been done, has likely been focused on ‘end of life’ care, which will not be helpful in the current situation. Planning for end of life care, when you know for certain you are dying, is not the same as planning for serious illness. COVID-19 is an example of a serious illness where there is a probability of death but as well as a probability of survival.
To read the full article visit the link here: https://bit.ly/2wYoqEC
The Kingston Whig Standard, April 21, 2020
April 21, 2020
By Alan Hale
Health Reporter, The Kingston Whig Standard *
Earlier in April, Daren Heyland, Critical Care Physician and Creator of Plan Well Guide was interviewed by Alan Hale from the Kingston Whig Standard to discuss the ways people can start to plan for and prepare for serious illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Heyland highlights how planning for serious illness is different than planning for terminal or end-of-life care, where people may give instructions for when they are dying. With COVID pneumonia, there is a possibility of survival – which is why it’s critical to plan for situations where there is that uncertainty. Dr. Heyland further explained how to use Plan Well Guide to prepare to meet doctors and make decisions when seriously ill to be sure you get the medical care that is right for you.
To read the full article visit the link here: https://bit.ly/2znTS05
* The following article also appeared in Eriemedia.ca, The Belleville Intelligencer, The Sarnia Observer and Queen’s Gazette.
The Globe and Mail, March 30, 2020
March 30, 2020
By Wency Leung
Health Reporter, The Globe and Mail
On March 27th Daren Heyland, Critical Care Physician and Creator of Plan Well Guide was interviewed by Wency Yeung, a health reporter from the Globe and Mail to discuss the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The focus of the article was around the importance Canadians need to be placing on planning ahead for this serious illness as the Coronvirus continues to sweep the nation. Dr. Heyland explained how important it is for people to learn and understand how medical decisions are made when they are seriously ill and what they have to say and how best to work with the doctors, so they are getting the medical care that is right for them. Dr. Heyland spoke about a major issue surrounding the current health crisis, which is how any Advance Care Planning (ACP) that people may have previously done, has likely been focused on ‘end of life’ care which is not going to be helpful in the current context of COVID-19. Planning for end of life care, when you know for certain you are dying, is not the same as planning for serious illness, Advance Serious Illness Preparations and Planning (ASIPP). Dr. Heyland urged people to start planning for serious illness where there’s a possibility of death, but also survival, due to how the Coronavirus works – it’s a serious illness but not always a fatal illness.
A reference to ASIPP was made in the article, highlighting how people can visit Plan Well Guide, for additional resources and guidance, by simply going online to planwellguide.com to learn more.
To read the full article visit the link here: https://tgam.ca/2Vrozc0
ICU Management & Practice - September 17, 2020
Unmasking the Triumphs, Tragedies, and Opportunities of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Dr. Heyland recently published an article with Dr. Patel, titled, “Unmasking the Triumphs, Tragedies, and Opportunities of the COVID-19 Pandemic”. The article was featured as a cover story around ageing populations in ICU Management & Practice, a journal which focuses on best practice, leadership and management of critically ill patients based on the most recent clinical developments. The article highlights how COVID-19 has cast a light on problems with communication as it relates to decision-making for older individuals suffering from critical illness. It also reinforces how the pandemic has further impaired the decision-making process by serving as a barrier to timely and effective communication. The data suggests that poor-quality communication negatively impacts decision making, which can lead to over utilisation of ICU services for older individuals who did not want them in the first place, or who, once in an ICU, had their dying experience unnecessarily prolonged, and thus, the ICU experience merely served to enhance discomfort and suffering. Based on the research, Dr. Heyland suggests that perhaps by prioritizing ‘patient-centred’ care and optimal communication and decision-making practices, we could reduce unwanted ICU admissions, preserve resources, and delay, minimize, or even omit the ‘rationing’ conversation to ensure the right patient receives the right treatment at the right time to derive the right benefit. Dr. Heyland suggests a new approach to planning for serious illness called Advanced Serious Illness Preparations and Planning (ASIPP), which aims to prepare patients (or their surrogates) for ‘in the moment’ clinical decision-making.
To read the full article visit the e-publication, here: https://healthmanagement.org/c/icu/issuearticle/unmasking-the-triumphs-tragedies-and-opportunities-of-the-covid-19-pandemic
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada - August 11, 2020
Healthcare, MDPI - July 18, 2020
Advance Care Planning: Time for a change?
Dr. Daren Heyland recently published a commentary titled, “Advance Care Planning (ACP) vs. Advance Serious Illness Preparations and Planning (ASIPP)” in Healthcare, an open-access journal from MDPI. The research highlights the impact a serious illness, like COVID-19 ,can have on people and their families and why it’s so important to have a plan and that it is followed to ensure people get the medical care that is right for them. We know that past research documented substantial medical errors regarding the use or non-use of life-sustaining treatments in older persons. While some experts advocate that advance care planning may be a solution to the problem, Dr. Heyland would argue, based on the research and experiences he has witnessed over the years, that the prevailing understanding and current practice of advance care planning perpetuates the problem and results in patients not receiving optimal patient-centered care. The problem centers on the framing of advance care planning around end of life care, the lack of use of decision support tools, and inadequate language that does not support shared decision-making. As such Dr. Heyland recommends a new approach and that new terminology is needed. Advance Serious Illness Preparations and Planning (ASIPP) consists of discrete steps using evidence-based tools to prepare people for future clinical decision-making in the context of shared decision-making and informed consent. Existing tools to support this approach have been developed and validated and additional dissemination of these tools is extremely necessary, now more than ever before as we navigate through the times of a pandemic, with the coronavirus. The time for a change is here and people need to do their ASIPP ASAP!
To read the full article visit the e-publication, here: https://bit.ly/30w0Bia
Ontario Hospital Association - July 10, 2020
The Ontario Hospital Association highlighted Plan Well Guide as a part of their Health System News. The article titled, ‘It’s Time We Ensure Patients Get the Medical Care That is Right for Them’, highlighting how past research has shown considerable medical errors are committed in hospital where patients are prescribed and/or receive treatments that they did not want in the first place. Not only does this harm the patient and put added stress on the family, but it unnecessarily exposes health care providers to a greater risk of COVID-19 transmission if they are intubated or resuscitating someone that didn’t want to be treated aggressively in the first place.
The goal behind Plan Well Guide is to broadly disseminate and engage people in advance serious illness preparations and plans as this would allow for an improved quality and quantity of clinical decision-making regarding the use (or non-use) of life sustaining treatments.
To read the full article, visit: https://bit.ly/2Cr5uk4
Canadian Geriatrics Journal - June 1, 2020
Canadian Medical Protective Association - June 1, 2020
Bio Med Central (BMC) Family Practice - May 25, 2020
Carrie Bernard, Amy Tan, Marissa Slaven, Dawn Elston, Daren K. Heyland & Michelle Howard
A qualitative research study was conducted by various physicians to understand how to better implement advance medical care planning in primary care. The focus behind this research was to explore patient-reported barriers to advance care planning in family practice. It is widely known how primary care doctors play a key role in initiating the process and with Plan Well Guide we hope to help further reduce these barriers.
To read the full article visit the e-publication, here: https://bit.ly/2XAz5hV
Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association - May 21, 2020
May 21, 2020
The Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association has published an opinion piece by Dr. Heyland in their semi-annual newsletter, AVISO. The focus is around how the dialogue in the news stories which are centered around COVID-19 need to include more around the alternatives to critical care services. There are alternatives to ICU care and this needs to be highlighted, along what is now being done to build capacity for those alternatives. For many, when fully informed of the risks, benefits and possible outcomes of critical care services, they may not want them. However, if the system is only designed to respond in one way, or if capacity is only built in this unidimensional way; if the public messaging is that this is what you do when you get sick with COVID-19, excessive demand may be created on the critical care services, more than there really would be if alternative options had been adequately built up.
People need to be encouraged to do their ASIPP ASAP before they get sick with COVID-19. It is important that people know that when they go through this planning process, they are not making a medical decision. They are preparing to make a medical decision. Bottom line: the plan needs to be not only about saving lives but about providing high quality palliative care to those who choose an alternative course of action. But people need to know that this alternative exists and then get the help they need to plan for it in advance.
To read the full article you must have a membership with the CHPCA, to learn more about how to obtain a copy of this newsletter and becoming a member, visit: https://bit.ly/2Wx1yWN
Canadian Medical Association Journal Open (CMAJ Open) - April 28, 2020
April 28, 2020
Dr. Daren Heyland and Dr. Alice Bailey
Canadian Medical Association Journal Open (CMAJ Open)
The findings of this publication are the results of a randomized trial beginning in September 2017 thru October 2018. The information stemmed from work done with family doctors at Family Medical and Bigelow Fowler in Lethbridge, Alberta. The focus behind the trial was to evaluate the efficacy of the novel decision support intervention, Plan Well Guide against usual care, to determine if it increased the quality and quantity of advance medical care planning. The research showed that Plan Well Guide improved the quality of decision-making and reduced time that the family doctors spent with their patients finalizing their ‘Goals of Care Designation’ form. Optimal results were achieved as patients were able to get the support they required while the decision-making encountered required less from doctors.
To read the full article visit the e-publication, here: https://bit.ly/2W4nzLf
For a visual summary of the results of the RCT, check out the Plan Well Guide infographic, here!
JAMDA - April 22, 2020
April 22, 2020
The article titled, A Multicenter Study to Identify Clinician Barriers to Participating in Goals of Care (GoC) Discussions in Long-term Care (LTC) highlights the barriers to engaging residents of LTC facilities along with their families in GoC discussions. Understanding clinician barriers to GoC discussions could identify opportunities for LTC-specific interventions to improve the quantity and quality of GoC discussions in the context of serious illness. These findings are extremely relevant given the current climate, in light of the horrible rise in cases of COVID-19 that have been sweeping throughout various LTC facilities across the country. It is more important than ever before that we overcome these barriers.
To read the full article visit the e-publication, here: https://bit.ly/3cL1kkh
E-Clinial Medicine - January 18, 2020
January 18, 2020
Published by The Lancet
The article highlights the importance behind advance care planning (ACP) and how we all need to do it more, however, we also need to be doing it differently. The information is in response to research by Knight and colleagues who provided a national snapshot regarding the accessibility of ACP at the point of medical decision-making for the UK. The data uncovered in the UK was found to be consistent with public polling data from Canada. An interesting finding around how, only 60% of clinical encounters with patients aged 90 or more who are admitted to an acute medical service, did the attending physician state that having an advance care plan was appropriate – this is critical, it may give clues as to what needs to be done differently moving forward as it relates to ACP. This 60%, should be much higher. The way to advance and move forward involves more robust, reliable, and useful tools that help patients establish their authentic values and transparently connects those values to possible treatment options made in the context of uncertainty. Both the quantity and quality of ACP need to be increased; patients deserve better.
To read the full article visit the e-publication, here: https://bit.ly/3b5TXn3
Upcoming conferences, events, and talks highlighting Plan Well Guide
Mosaic Home Care - November 17, 2020
To learn how to register for the upcoming online presentation, visit: https://www.mosaichomecare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/aug2020-mosaic-dr-daren-heyland-presentation-flyer-final.pdf
Legal Education Society of Alberta, September 24, 2020
Dr. Daren Heyland will be participating in a webinar with the Legal Education Society of Alberta (LESA) on September 24, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. The webinar is titled, Re-thinking Advance Medical Care Planning: The Evolving Collaboration Between Doctors and Lawyers and Dr.Heyland will be discussing with LESA and their members, the role lawyers play regarding medical decisions that patients and their agents must make when facing serious illness, such as COVID-19. The webinar will highlight how to assess the challenges of ill-prepared patients and their agents, and the opportunity for doctors and lawyers to work together to the betterment of their patients/clients.
To register for the upcoming webinar, visit: https://bit.ly/3fKOP9E
Previous conferences, events, and talks highlighting Plan Well Guide
MNP, July 16, 2020
Is Your Family Prepared for the unexpected?
Dr. Daren Heyland collaborated with the Family Office Services team from MNP to create a Plan Well Guide and LifeBook article, titled ‘Is Your Family Prepared for the unexpected?’ The focus is around educating individuals around what they and their families can do to prepare for the unexpected. The information is especially helpful now as we learn how to best plan ahead and navigate the times of a pandemic, with COVID-19.
To learn more you can read the full article, here: https://bit.ly/3eQkEgs
Ontario Bar Association, June 15, 2020
The Ontario Bar Association hosted a webcast on Monday, June 15 at 9am ET, with Dr. Daren Heyland leading a discussion titled, Innovation in End of Life Planning . The series was geared towards legal professionals and focused around innovation in trusts and estates law. Dr. Daren Heyland was the expert panelist who spoke to the area around, Innovation in End of Life Planning. He specifically highlighted what Plan Well Guide is and how it can be used to assist clients as they prepare for serious illness and end of life planning.
You can view the video directly at the Canadian Bar Association website located, here! A membership is required to access the video.
International Federation on Ageing, June 5, 2020
The IFA hosted a virtual town hall on Friday, June 5, 2020 at 07:00 (GMT-4). The series was titled, COVID-19 and Older People: A Threat to Person-centered Care. Dr. Daren Heyland was featured as a part of their internal series to discuss the impact COVID-19 is having on older individuals and how Plan Well Guide is a solution to making sure older individuals get the medical care that is right for them.
If you were unable to participate in this meeting, a recording is now available here!
Law Society of Ontario, May 12, 2020
Dr. Daren Heyland presented at the Law Society of Ontario’s Continuing Professional Development course, the Six-Minute Estates Lawyer program on May 12, 2020. The topic Dr. Heyland focused on was around the importance of lawyers re-thinking how they discuss advance medical care planning with their clients, especially in the time of the coronavirus.
To learn more about this discussion, visit the CPD section of the Law Society of Ontario’s website: https://store.lso.ca/cpd
Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, May 25, 2020
Daren Heyland joined several panelists for a webinar to discuss the importance of serious illness planning, titled, Novel decision aids to support decision-making in serious illness
(Like COVID-19). The webinar was hosted by the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) and the focus was around improving communication and decision-making in the context of serious illness – a need highlighted by COVID-19.
The Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation, MDs4Wellness, and the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice, April 23, 2020
Daren Heyland presented a webinar around, Improving Communication and Decision-Making (and compassion satisfaction) in the context of Serious Illness, like COVID-19. The webinar was organized by The Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation, MDs4Wellness, and the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice. The learning objectives of the webinar focused around:
– Listing the deficiencies in current communication and decision-making practices in the context of serious illness;
– Describing the features of the novel decision-support tool, Plan Well Guide;
– Discussing as a group an evaluation of the Plan Well Guide worksheet in Acute Care setting.
The recording is available here, simply click on the link to access the full webinar which includes various slides along with audio of the full presentation.
Allan Friesen-Silverberg Group, March 26, 2020
Dr. Daren Heyland participated in an online discussion with Allan Friesen from the Allan Friesen-Silverberg Group, a certified employee benefit specialist based in Alberta, Canada
To listen to the full discussion which highlights how Plan Well Guide can assist in planning for your future, visit the link here!
Family Medicine Summit, March 6, 2020
Plan Well Guide presented research at the Family Medicine Summit in Banff, Alberta on the following topic: A Novel Decision Aid to Help Plan for Serious Illness: Results of a multi-site randomized trial.