Dr. Joelle Bradley recently entered the 2013 Family Medicine Forum’s “Dangerous Idea Soapbox” competition in Vancouver. Here’s her idea … which led to an opportunity to make a 3-minute ‘pitch’ at the Forum, and resulted in her winning 1st place for the most dangerous idea!

Public art beautifies cities and enhances local culture. How do you make it happen? Places like New York have instituted a “1% for art bylaw”, dedicating 1% of new building project dollars to public art.

Advance Care Planning (ACP) beautifies end of life and enhances the quality of the dying experience for patients and their loved ones. How do you make it happen? Let’s be fabulous like New York! Let’s institute “1% for ACP” – where 1% of new health care dollars supports a comprehensive ACP program.

Instead of hoping these conversations ‘just happen’, we could engage others to co-champion the promotion of ACP within their circle of influence. This includes family doctors, specialists, nurses and social workers as well as interested members of society – lawyers, insurance agents, spiritual leaders, etc. Most innovative to the program would be the capacity for any promoter to refer any person interested to a trained advance care planning facilitator.

This is a model with huge success in other locations and has proved to be cost neutral or better, all the while allowing patients to get less expensive, but more satisfying, care at end of life.

I have a dream for ACP – that it will be a comfortable, even irresistible process, embraced by everyone regardless of education, culture, religion or age. Let’s take a lesson from New York and invest in ACP to beautify end of life and enhance the quality of the dying experience for all Canadians.

Dr. Joelle Bradley is a young physician and hospitalist at the Royal Columbian Hospital. She serves on the board of the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice where she is the lead physician for Advance Care Planning Steering Committee charged with improving advance care planning in the local community.

The Canadian Physicians of Canada modeled their Dangerous Idea Soapbox on the popular session of the same name offered in the UK by the Society of Academic Primary Care. The Soapbox offers the opportunity for innovators to be heard on subjects that they feel need to be shared, but are not currently being heard.