Maclean’s event: Frank talk about end-of-life care

Maclean’s and the Canadian Medical Association host a live chat to answer your questions about end-of-life care

The Canadian Medical Association, in partnership with Maclean’s, wants you to pose questions or offer comments in an online chat about end-of-life issues.
We’ve also been hosting a series of public town hall meetings across the country.

This is a chance for anyone who hasn’t been able to attend in person to engage directly with Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, the CMA’s president—he’s here to respond.

“We need to hear more from Canadians about how their health care system can ensure not only a long, healthy life but also a good death,” he’s said.

We’re hoping to focus today’s conversation around three big themes:

1. advance care directives

2. palliative care

3. physician-assisted dying

The first item—advance care directives—is about planning and communicating with family members about your end-of-life care wishes. How far do you want doctors to go to keep you alive?

The second—palliative care—is a pressing issue, since as few as 16 per of Canadians who die this year will have access to good quality palliative care where they live. What’s needed, and how should we pay for it?

And the third—physician-assisted death—is obviously a hot-button issue. It has prompted the most passionate responses at our town halls.

So now it’s your turn. The CMA sees a national crisis around end-of-life care. There’s no harder subject to talk openly about—but we need to have that conversation to find solutions. Dr. Francescutti is eager to engage with you right here at 1 p.m. ET.

THE CHAT

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Maclean’s event: Frank talk about end-of-life care

  1. During my 16 years in England, I spent three years (1995-98) working as a caregiver – living with and caring for several elderly people suffering from advanced dementia. I saw first-hand how this disease leaves its victims trapped in a truly terrifying, living hell – with no way out except fading slowly and somewhat agonizingly into a merciful death. I often felt my charges were closer to anxious zombies than human beings – and did often wonder about the ethics of prolonging life as long as possible under those circumstances.

    My time as a carer left me decidedly unwilling to experience that kind of ‘life’ myself. As such, I can say hand on heart that the day I’m diagnosed with dementia is the day I start making moves to check out. When it comes that kind of illness, I’m going to quit while I’m ahead.

    In fact, maybe we should be a little more like Latin America – where people appear to embrace and celebrate death rather than attempting to ignore it and lock it away behind closed doors, as westerners seem inclined to do?

    Raising awareness
    This year, I self-published The Carer, a short e-novel based on my time as a live-in geriatric nurse. Described as a “gritty urban thriller with a social conscience”, The Carer offers a “Faustian tale of elder abuse, patricide by proxy and the corrosive effects of power.” You can buy The Carer for USD0.99 from Amazon and all other major ebook retailers.

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