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Improving General practice Advance care Planning (i-GAP)

If a person talks with their health care providers and family members about their end-of-life plan, they are more likely to be satisfied with the care they receive at that time. Caregivers of people with these plans are also less likely to suffer from depression or wonder if they made the right choices for their loved one. Thinking and talking about your values and wishes for what will happen if you are unable to make decisions for yourself is called Advance Care Planning (ACP).

A recent poll found that 52 percent of Canadian adults had discussed ACP with family or friends, but just 10 percent had discussed it with their health care provider. Around 60 percent of Canadians want their health care provider to give them information on ACP, but only 26 percent of primary care physicians feel comfortable doing that. Most doctors — around 67 percent — say they need more resources and information to talk about ACP with their patients.

A team of researchers in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University is trying to get more Canadians talking about advance care planning, especially with their primary care providers. The Improving Advance Care Planning in General Practice (i-GAP) research project is taking place in family doctor offices across Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. Physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners and social workers participate in clinician ACP education and training before implementing ACP in their practices.

i-GAP is studying Advance Care Planning tools to help people, families and health care professionals have these important discussions. Early results show that these tools do change people’s attitudes and behaviour about Advance Care Planning.


Principal Investigators
  • Dr. Carrie Bernard, Queen Square Family Health Team
  • Dr. Marissa Slaven, Juravinski Cancer Centre
  • Dr. John You, Hamilton Health Sciences
  • Dr. Doug Klein, University of Alberta
  • Dr. Amy Tan, University of Calgary
  • Dr. Jessica Simon, Alberta Health Services
  • Dr. Doris Barwich, British Columbia Centre for Palliative Care
  • Dr. Rebecca Sudore, University of California at San Francisco

Partner Organizations

    • McMaster University Department of Family Medicine
    • David Braley Health Sciences Centre
    • 100 Main Street West, 6th Floor
    • Hamilton, ON L8P 1H6
    • Map / Directions