Talking end-of-life care

The Telegram
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National dialogue starts in St. John’s Thursday night

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is partnering with a national publication for a cross-country series of public town halls focused on end-of-life care.

St. John’s will host the first town hall event this Thursday from 7-9 p.m. at Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland. Maclean’s is presenting the event as part of its “In Conversation With Maclean’s” series.

The discussions are designed to improve the public’s understanding of end-of-life care and to collect feedback that will help guide future CMA actions.

Thursday’s discussion will start with opening remarks from CMA president Dr. Louis Francescutti, after which a panel discussion moderated by Maclean’s editor Mark Stevenson will take place.

The panel will include some local voices. Jeannette Holman-Price is a past president of the Brain Injury Association of Canada. Dr. Susan MacDonald is the medical director of palliative care for Eastern Health and president-elect of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians. Rounding out the panel is Dr. Jeff Blackmer, executive director of medical ethics with the CMA.

Francescutti hopes Thursday’s discussion will not become paralyzed by the heated debate that sometimes surrounds the issue of physician-assisted death. In addition to that topic, the event is set to look at advance care planning and palliative care.

Francescutti said members of the baby boom generation have been watching their own parents die in recent years and will not settle for less-than-adequate palliative care options.  

For rural areas, he suggests there is a need to bring back more home-care options, noting that palliative care is still a relatively new form of health care.

Thursday’s event is free and can be watched live online at

Organizations: CMA, Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland, Brain Injury Association of Canada Canadian Society Palliative Care Physicians

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