Pilot Program Paves the Way for ACP Uptake in New Brunswick

If not you, who? Who would you trust to make health care decisions for you? 

Horizon Health Network’s Collaborative Care Seniors Health (CCSH) team invited residents to ponder these questions and then encouraged them to seize control in an Advance Care Planning (ACP) Information Session pilot program.  

Emphasizing the importance of initiating these conversations early and regularly throughout one’s life, the program highlighted there is no better time than the present to take control of one’s healthcare decisions. Let’s explore how this initiative came to light and how its collaborative approach is helping to reshape proactive healthcare planning within the province. 

Planning and Execution 

The origins of the ACP pilot program can be traced back to the early months of 2023 when CCSH’s Engagement & Communications Task Force made Advance Care Planning a top priority. Task force members, subject matter experts, government partners, and Horizon staff combined their expertise, resulting in a comprehensive plan to conduct up to 20 face-to-face public information sessions in New Brunswick. 

Guided by the task force co-chair, a Horizon employee who also served as the coordinator and facilitator, the program strategically targeted communities in the southwestern region of New Brunswick.  

Outreach communication to raise awareness of the information sessions included posters, postcards, and social media promotion. In addition, the coordinator worked together with community administrators, groups, and representatives to help promote the information sessions and drive attendance. 

The initial presentation was crafted by a working group to ensure consistency at each event location. The coordinator then continuously refined the presentation based on experiences, participant feedback, and emerging data.  

With the coordinator leading 95% of the sessions, participants were assured a consistent and informative experience, enhancing the overall success of the program. 

Delivering Presentations and Resources 

During the period of April to December 2023, CCSH conducted 19 face-to-face sessions, engaging 313 attendees in discussions surrounding ACP. The goal of the sessions was to empower adults to take control of their healthcare decisions by completing health care directives and appointing enduring powers of attorney for care. This was accomplished through a 30-minute presentation which covered the purpose of advance care planning, the process, and instructions on using the materials provided in the participant kits.  

The participant kits included a bilingual postcard, the Advance Care Planning Guide from ACP Canada, a brochure with contact information on Public-Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick (PLEIS-NB), and guides from PLEIS-NB on Enduring Power Of Attorney and Advance Care Planning. 

Community Partnerships

In addition to the delivery of education and resources, the sessions offered information on programs offered by Horizon Health Network, the Department of Social Development, the Red Cross, the Alzheimer Society of NB, 211 for navigation, and other community partners. This comprehensive approach ensured that participants not only learned about advance care planning but also had access to relevant support and services. 

Empowered Participants 

The ACP pilot program’s success was evident in participant evaluation responses, which 60% of attendees completed. A post-session survey revealed an impressive average score of at least 4.5 of 5 for all questions asked. This positive feedback underscores the program’s effectiveness in emphasizing Advance Care Planning’s importance and the satisfaction with the workshop structure, participant kit, and informational resources.  

Collaboration among municipal administrators, community groups, and various organizations created an inspiring environment. Groups involved ranged from the St. Croix Wellness & Renewal Centre, which promotes wellness and physical activity in Charlotte County, to local Legions, MLAs, family physicians, and local social groups/knowledge sharing forums for older adults. Participants left not only informed but also equipped and motivated for their life planning journey. This collective effort showcased broader community benefits, emphasizing that when organizations unite, individuals are more than educated — they are empowered. 

Championing ACP through Collaborative Initiatives 

The success of Horizon Health Network’s Collaborative Care Seniors Health (CCSH) pilot program illustrates the profound impact of collaboration and community engagement in advancing healthcare initiatives. By fostering meaningful partnerships between communities and organizations and providing face-to-face educational opportunities for residents, this initiative has empowered individuals to proactively shape their future health and personal care decisions.  

As Advance Care Planning Canada celebrates the triumphs of New Brunswick’s ACP pilot program, we are reminded that the journey towards a nation where people are informed and proactive about their healthcare choices is not just a possibility; it is becoming a reality. 

For More Information 

To learn more about the New Brunswick ACP pilot project, please contact Jan Grant, Education, Engagement and Communication Manager, Collaborative Care Seniors Health at 506-566-2208 or [email protected]

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