Public Opinion Poll: End-of-Life Care in Canada (Nanos Research)

In this poll commissioned by Cardus, Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians between February 22nd and 27th, 2015 as part of an omnibus survey. Questions were themed on Canadians' level of preparedness for making end-of-life health care decisions; confidence in Canada's health care system; and how and by whom end-of-life care questions are addressed. Download the results here.

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Topics: Health

Executive Summary

Overall, most Canadians think they are prepared (39%) or somewhat prepared (39%) to make health care decisions if themselves or a loved one faced a life threatening illness or was near death. Although they are personally prepared, 28% are concerned and 45% are somewhat concerned that they would not receive the comfort and support they would hope to receive if they or a loved faced such an experience 

When it comes to making decisions about appropriate care in the case of a life threatening illness, the most important thing for Canadians is that the health care decisions are made in a manner that respects the wishes of a patient and their family (83% important and 16% somewhat important). Although still important, there is a relatively less importance attached to: 

  • decisions being made in a manner which respects the advice of health care providers (53% important and 40% somewhat important). 
  • decisions being made in a manner which respects your personal faith (32% important and 27% somewhat important). 
  • decisions being made in a manner which respects your family’s culture (29% important and 33% somewhat important). 

Just 33% of the public thinks that Canadians have the right amount of personal control over health decisions when one is nearing death. A majority (54%) thinks that there is not enough control. 

When it comes to the performance of the health care system in finding end-of-life care solutions from groups in society, 20% think the performance is very good or good when it comes to faith groups in one’s community. While few think the performance is very poor (4%) or poor (9%), 42% are not sure. Performance is similar when it comes to finding end-of-life care solutions from local community groups (19% very good or good) and lower for cultural groups in one’s community (15% very good or good). 

There are a number of fundamental characteristics of Canada that the public could see as important for Canada. Of these, being a place where people have access to universal public health care (32%) is the most likely to be ranked first. A place where there is a Charter of Rights (28%) is the next most mentioned as the top priority.