Covenant Health Palliative Institute lunches new provincial initiative to promote advance care planning

ACP Alberta project to span healthcare, law, financial services and other sectors to help Albertans plan for their future.


EDMONTON, April 15, 2021 – The Covenant Health Palliative Institute is launching an intensive two year campaign to equip Albertans to effectively determine, communicate and document key aspects of their personal, health and financial plans that can affect their future care.
Under the auspices of Alberta Health and Alberta Justice and Solicitor General and funded by an Alberta Health grant, the Advance Care Planning (ACP) Alberta project aims to provide education and practical supports related to advance care planning by way of partnerships in relevant sectors outside
health care, including law, banking and financial planning.
“Advance care planning brings peace of mind to Albertans and their families, especially in times of heightened health worries due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Jessica Simon, researcher at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and project advisor. “However, only one third of Albertans have heard of advance care planning and many people are unsure how to get started.”
The ACP Alberta project is the latest in a series of pioneering provincial initiatives to promote advance care planning. This project is based in large part on the work of the Alberta Innovates-funded Advance Care Planning Collaborative Research and Innovation Opportunities (ACP CRIO) initiative, which ran
from 2013 until 2019 and focused on establishing best practices for promoting advance care planning across a complex, multisector healthcare system.

“Alberta has been a leader in the advancement of ACP nationally for over a decade,” said Dr. Konrad Fassbender, scientific director of the Covenant Health Palliative Institute. “Alberta was the first province to adopt the internationally recognized Conversations Matter program, and the ACP CRIO project did much to identify barriers to ACP, provide education and develop concrete solutions. We have a great body of expertise across multiple sectors, and this project aims to put this into action.”
The launch of ACP Alberta comes ahead of Advance Care Planning Day (April 16), a nationwide promotion spearheaded by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) where Canadians are encouraged to set aside time to talk openly with family, friends and loved ones about their wishes for their future health care.
For more information on advance care planning in Canada, visit My Health AlbertaAlberta Health Services’ online ACP resources or the ACP Canada website. For more information about ACP Alberta, contact the Covenant Health Palliative Institute at
“Palliative care is a key priority for the government and we are pleased to support this very important and much needed project,” said Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro. “Advance care planning must be seen as an essential part of health care thinking and empowers Albertans to reflect upon, discuss and record their future health care needs and personal wishes with their family, caregivers and health providers.”
Covenant Health is Canada’s largest Catholic health care organization and a key partner in Alberta’s integrated health system. Covenant Health launched the Palliative Institute in October 2012, envisioning a future where every Albertan can make informed choices about their care and where caregivers have the knowledge, expertise and resources to support them. It is the institute’s role to serve as a knowledge broker and problem solver for patients and families, clinicians, policymakers, caregivers and researchers, and to lead informed public conversation about palliative issues.
Media Contact:
Benjamin Freeland, Communications Advisor
Covenant Health Palliative Institute
Phone or text: 780.886.3255
Email: benjamin.freeland@covenanthealth.

Advance Care Planning Alberta Project

What Is Advance Care Planning?

Advance care planning (ACP) is a process that supports adults regardless of age or health conditions in understanding and communicating their personal values, life goals and preferences regarding their future medical care. ACP helps ensure that people receive medical care that is consistent with their values, goals and preferences when faced.
What Is ACP Alberta?
The ACP Alberta Project will equip every Albertan to make the necessary health, legal and personal decisions involved in planning for their future care. It will do so by bundling health care tools together with resources related to personal and financial planning. Based on findings from the ACP Collaborative Research and Innovation Opportunities (CRIO) program, this project will further integrate ACP into Albertans’ lives through collaborative partnerships across multiple sectors, including law, financial planning, banking and insurance. ACP Alberta ultimately seeks to embed advance care planning into Alberta’s social fabric and familiarize the public with its benefits and processes as well as provide easy access to the necessary documents and sources of support.

Project Objectives
  • Engage provincial ministries, health, legal, financial and academic stakeholders and community organizations to identify and harness their expertise and interests in ACP.

  • Increase Albertans’ literacy on and capacity for ACP.

  • Build capacity in sectors and improve systems that support ACP, such as health,  law, financial and government (Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee), by facilitating networks and coordinating efforts to streamline processes.

  • Help government manage the ACP system more efficiently through evidence based performance measurement and advise Alberta Health and other government ministries on societal costs, resources and overall benefits (quality of life and economic) to Albertans of improved ACP.



What is Palliative Care?
Palliative care is person and family centred care that optimizes quality of life, alleviates pain and reduces symptoms throughout the person’s life limiting illness.
A palliative approach to care can be given alongside any other treatment being received.
Palliative care also includes end of life care and bereavement.
Who is it for?
For any person and their family needing help with symptoms and decision making from any life-limiting illness. It’s not only for people who are close to dying from a serious illness (e.g., cancer or heart failure). It’s also for people who have many months to live, with illnesses that don’t get better or may get worse over time (e.g. dementia, kidney disease).
What types of services are offered?
Palliative care services are based on a person’s wishes and goals. Decisions about future health care can be based on choices known as Advance Care Planning in Canada
Services may be different depending on where a person lives. Here are some that may be included:
  • supporting someone to live and feel as well as possible
  • helping to make decisions about where to get care (e.g.,  home, a hospice, a hospital, or long term care centre) as the illness and needs change
  • helping the person and their family decide on goals of care
  • managing pain and other symptoms (e.g. nausea, breathing problems)
  • helping the person and family understand what to expect from their illness
  • giving emotional and spiritual support
  • answering questions about the end of life (e.g., organ and tissue donation, funeral plans, financial worries)
  • offering volunteer support
  • connecting the family to grief and bereavement services
How to get it?
Talk to your doctor or other health care team providers.
Call Health Link at 811
How can I help?
Be part of a Palliative Care Compassionate Community . You can start by helping a neighbor or check with your parish how they support those in need. Check with other community and health care organizations. Just get started.
Where can I find out more about palliative care?


Alberta Hospice Palliative Care

The Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association (AHPCA) engages in actions and strategies that result in comprehensive, equitable and quality end of life care for Albertans.

Edmonton Zone Palliative Care Program

The Edmonton Zone Palliative Care Program (EZPCP) is a program that coordinates palliative care services in the Edmonton Zone health Region.

My Health Alberta (Provincial Site)

Built by the Alberta Gove​rnment and Alberta Health Services to give Albertans a place to go for health information they can trust.

Canadian Virtual Hospice

The Canadian Virtual Hospice provides support and personalized information about palliative and end-of-life care to patients, family members, health care providers, researchers and educators.

Canadian Home Care Association

The Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association (AHPCA) engages in actions and strategies that result in comprehensive, equitable and quality end of life care for Albertans.

Advance Care Planning - Alberta Health services

The Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association (AHPCA) engages in actions and strategies that result in comprehensive, equitable and quality end of life care for Albertans.

Organizations, Alberta Health Services (AHS) Dementia Advice Line

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Support Organization, Alberta Health Services (AHS) Dementia Advice Line

  • The Dementia Advice line offers 24/7 telephone nurse advice for individuals and caregivers living with Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • When needed, callers will be referred to a specialized dementia nurse for additional support.
  • Call: 844 (811# on cell phones)
  • Types of services offered: Helpline.