Jan Jensen is a Community Care Surveillance Nurse with Home Health, who supports seniors to stay healthy in their homes. Jan shares with us her ‘aha moment’ of when she found the right opportunity to start the conversation of Advance Care Planning with her client. 

Advance care planning is not just a single conversation or giving a client the pamphlet and My Voice booklet. It is a series of conversations, ideally, face-to-face. 

I am a surveillance nurse with Home Health. I have a caseload of 250 clients and all of my contact with them is by phone.  How to talk about such a personal subject over the phone? 

One of the key points I learned in the advance care planning workshop I recently attended is to “start the conversation”. One of my roles as a surveillance nurse is to call my clients within 72 hours of discharge from hospital. Here is an opportunity to start the conversation – to ask about their experience in the hospital, ask if anyone talked to them about advance care planning while they were in hospital and go from there. 

The day after the workshop, I returned a call to a client. I told her I was in a course the day she called. She asked me, “What did you learn?”, and I thought to myself, “Aha - here is a perfect opportunity to start the conversation.” We talked about advance care planning and she said she wanted to learn more. I mailed her the pamphlet and My Voice booklet and we agreed that I would call her again to further discuss and answer her questions about advance care planning. 

Since the workshop, I have been talking with family, friends and neighbours about advance care planning. What I found was that most people want to talk about it – you just need to start the conversation.  

Register online for advance care planning professional education sessions.