How do we get Canadians talking about death and dying?

 

Monday, June 8, 2015 - 4:00am

Only 30 per cent of Canadians have advanced care plans for themselves.  These plans help doctors and families know what patients want when it comes to end-of-life palliative care.

OCAD University student Karen Oikonen has tackled this problem as part of her Strategic Foresight and Innovation major research project.  Oikonen focused on the issue of making it easier for families who live far apart to communicate and get better info about their sick loved ones.

She experienced the problems with the system first-hand when she lost her dad to cancer.  Oikonen flew to Thunder Bay almost every other weekend, leaving her two-year old son at home and often arriving back in Toronto at 6 a.m. and going right to work.

“As we move away from where we’re born we still want to be connected to our parents and their well-being,” says Oikonen. There are some big problems with the current system. Medical practitioners are only allowed to give details and updates to the patient’s power of attorney over the phone – so if you’re living across the country and aren’t your parent’s POA, you’ll have to rely on someone else for info or get on a plane.

“When my dad died it changed everything,” says Oikonen. “The world didn’t look the same for me anymore.”  She was mid-career and looking for a masters degree.  When Oikonen heard about the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program, “I knew, this was it,” she says. 

You can learn more about Oikonen’s project and the exciting work of other innovative Strategic Foresight and Innovation students at their graduate exhibition, xFutures, on now until June 17th at 49 McCaul Street, Toronto.

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Monday, June 8, 2015 - 4:00am

Only 30 per cent of Canadians have advanced care plans for themselves.  These plans help doctors and families know what patients want when it comes to end-of-life palliative care.

OCAD University student Karen Oikonen has tackled this problem as part of her Strategic Foresight and Innovation major research project.  Oikonen focused on the issue of making it easier for families who live far apart to communicate and get better info about their sick loved ones.

She experienced the problems with the system first-hand when she lost her dad to cancer.  Oikonen flew to Thunder Bay almost every other weekend, leaving her two-year old son at home and often arriving back in Toronto at 6 a.m. and going right to work.

“As we move away from where we’re born we still want to be connected to our parents and their well-being,” says Oikonen. There are some big problems with the current system. Medical practitioners are only allowed to give details and updates to the patient’s power of attorney over the phone – so if you’re living across the country and aren’t your parent’s POA, you’ll have to rely on someone else for info or get on a plane.

“When my dad died it changed everything,” says Oikonen. “The world didn’t look the same for me anymore.”  She was mid-career and looking for a masters degree.  When Oikonen heard about the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program, “I knew, this was it,” she says. 

You can learn more about Oikonen’s project and the exciting work of other innovative Strategic Foresight and Innovation students at their graduate exhibition, xFutures, on now until June 17th at 49 McCaul Street, Toronto.