Function in the Midst of Dysfunction: Supporting Families Facing Serious Illness

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Honoured to be a Clinical Lead at Camp Erin Toronto - a FREE bereavement camp for kids and teens

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Am honoured to be a Clinical Lead for Camp Erin Toronto, an incredible FREE weekend bereavement camp for children and youth aged 6-17.   

Camp Erin Toronto is provided FREE to families and is open to any child who has experienced the death of an immediate family member or custodial caregiver, regardless of cause or length of time since the death.  Activities focus on providing campers with the tools needed to help them in their grief and with difficult experiences throughout their lives, while enhancing overall wellness, play and vitality. 

Camp Erin gives children and youth the opportunity to meet with other grieving kids in a fun and natural environment; understanding that they are not the only ones to experience the death of someone close to them decreases the sense of isolation that many grieving children experience.  Source: https://drjaychildrensgriefcentre.ca/programs/camp-erin/

As a registered charity that DOES NOT RECEIVE GOVERNMENT FUNDING, Camp Erin Toronto depends on the generosity of donors. For information, to refer or to donate, please visit: https://drjaychildrensgriefcentre.ca/programs/camp-erin/

For information on other Camp Erin locations in Canada and the U.S. visit: https://elunanetwork.org/camps-programs/camp-erin/

#BustingTheMyths about Hospice Palliative Care

It’s Hospice Palliative Care Week in Canada. 

The campaign (May 5th – 11th) this year focuses on #BustingTheMyths about Hospice Palliative Care

This year, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) designed a “Busting the Myths” campaign as a response to the need to educate Canadians including caregivers, physicians and all healthcare providers, citizens and political leaders around common myths about hospice palliative care.

The #BustingTheMyths campaign aims to empower Canadians through education by identifying and clarifying misperceptions about Hospice Palliative Care in Canada.

Working together to educate one another is a vital step in the pursuit of excellent Hospice PalliativeCare.

Source: CHPCA Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association

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Talking About Death Won't Kill You: The 100% Certainty Project

"Most of us are ill-prepared to face what lies ahead. In a death-denying society, how do we ready ourselves for our human fate? How do we prepare for the end of our lives?

To this end, The 100% Certainty Project uses books to spark dialogue amongst citizens with the hope that grassroots efforts begin to build the social fabric we all will need at end-of-life. The project attempts to de-medicalize the experience of death & dying and engage community agencies and activists. We encourage the public to read and talk about books – books with themes of death, dying, bereavement, and loss. By facilitating conversation at dining room tables, in coffee shops and on street corners across Greater Hamilton and beyond, this reading initiative aims to increase public awareness about death & dying and lessen society’s discomfort facing death." Source: The 100% Certainty Project

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Please join us for the first in a series of FREE public events. As part of the Division of Palliative Care at McMaster University with McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences, and our "The 100% Certainty Project. Death: Something to Talk About" initiative, together with Heart House Hospice, am honoured to co-host and moderate this event at the Mississauga Library with my brilliant friend and colleague Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller. While the event is free, registration is required via the Mississauga Public Library at (905) 615 4835.

In support of National Hospice Palliative Care Week, we'll hear about her experiences as a parent and spouse facing a cancer diagnosis, as a Social Worker in Palliative Care and as an academic researcher and educator. At this event, Kathy will share her insight and explore some of the big questions about living and dying. We'll also open up the conversation to the audience - questions are welcome. Please email questions in advance to our "100% Certainty" email address: talkaboutdeath100@gmail.com or, join us and ask Dr. Kortes-Miller directly. Her book "Talking About Death Won't Kill You. The Essential Guide to End-of-Life Conversations" will also be on sale at each event.

Please join us for this FREE public event. As part of the Division of Palliative Care with  McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences , and our "The 100% Certainty Project. Death: Something to Talk About", am honoured to co-host and moderate this event at the  Hamilton Public Library  with my brilliant friend and colleague Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller. While the event is free, registration is required via  Eventbrite

Please join us for this FREE public event. As part of the Division of Palliative Care with McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences, and our "The 100% Certainty Project. Death: Something to Talk About", am honoured to co-host and moderate this event at the Hamilton Public Library with my brilliant friend and colleague Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller. While the event is free, registration is required via Eventbrite

Please join us for this final evening in our series of FREE public events. As part of the Division of Palliative Care at  McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences , and our "The 100% Certainty Project. Death: Something to Talk About", together with  Carpenter Hospice , am honoured to co-host and moderate this event at the  Burlington Public Library  with my brilliant friend and colleague Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller. While the event is free, registration is required via the Burlington Public Library at (905) 639 3611.

Please join us for this final evening in our series of FREE public events. As part of the Division of Palliative Care at McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences, and our "The 100% Certainty Project. Death: Something to Talk About", together with Carpenter Hospice, am honoured to co-host and moderate this event at the Burlington Public Library with my brilliant friend and colleague Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller. While the event is free, registration is required via the Burlington Public Library at (905) 639 3611.

April 2nd is National Carers Day

About National Carers Day

In April 2010, the Parliament of Canada unanimously adopted a motion declaring the first Tuesday in April “The Invisible Work Day.” This day was designated to recognize the importance of the “invisible” unpaid work carried out by parents and caregivers on behalf of their children and aging family members, as well as the volunteer work done in the community.  Recognizing that caregivers come from all walks of life and take on many roles, the first Tuesday in April is a special day where we can recognize all caring Canadians.

#NationalCarersDay

Source: https://www.carerscanada.ca/national-carers-day/

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Free Breast Cancer Support Group

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Am pleased to be facilitating this FREE support group at Wellspring Chinguacousy for women following a diagnosis of breast cancer.

The Breast Cancer Support Group provides a community for women who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer, or are currently in treatment. This group can reduce isolation and provide an opportunity for peer support, to meet with others to explore the many emotional, social and practical challenges of coping with breast cancer

While this is a FREE group, registration is required, with a commitment to attend each week, for a period of six weeks. The next group is offered on the following dates:

Mon Mar 11, 2019: 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Mon Mar 18, 2019: 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Mon Mar 25, 2019: 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Mon Apr 1, 2019: 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Mon Apr 8, 2019: 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Mon Apr 15, 2019: 12:00pm - 1:30pm

For information, or to register, please visit Wellspring Chinguacousy

FREE family support group when a child has been diagnosed with cancer

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Am honoured to be co-facilitating this FREE support group for families when a child has been diagnosed with cancer.

Each evening session begins with community-building and a light dinner is provided for all in attendance. This family support group at Wellspring is professionally facilitated and provides an opportunity for parents of children with cancer to connect for mutual support, for the sharing of ideas, for discussion and for networking. While the parents meet, the children (ages 5-13) will meet simultaneously in a separate group and focus on themed therapeutic activities designed to assist with their psychosocial needs.

Upcoming Dates:

  • Mon Mar 18, 2019: 6:00pm - 8:00pm

  • Mon Mar 25, 2019: 6:00pm - 8:00pm

  • Mon Apr 1, 2019: 6:00pm - 8:00pm

  • Mon Apr 8, 2019: 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Registration is Required. Please note: This program requires a commitment for families to attend all sessions. For information, or to register, please contact 905-257-1988 or 1-877-499-9904.

EXPLORING GRIEF AND LOSS LITERACY: SUPPORTING AND EMPOWERING SCHOOL COMMUNITIES

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Am thrilled to be offering a full-day of training on Feb. 1st for the Halton District School Board on “EXPLORING GRIEF AND LOSS LITERACY: SUPPORTING AND EMPOWERING SCHOOL COMMUNITIES”

Will be honoured to be present with so many professionals as we spend the day exploring: 

- Grief and Loss Literacy (related to dying, death and non-death losses)

- Stigma Related to Illness, Dying, Grief

- The Dialogue of Loss

- Support Across School Communities

- Promoting Capacity & Engagement

- Opportunities for Self-Care

Looking forward to sharing some brilliant resources!

Ways to Survive the Holiday Season When You're Grieving

"The holiday season hurts. That is just reality. Whether you are missing someone who should be part of the festivities, or you are missing someone who shared your love of quiet acknowledgment over raucous partying, this season will add some to your grief. But there are ways to make it gentler for yourself..." via Megan Devine, Refuge In Grief

To read the full article, please visit: https://www.refugeingrief.com/2018/12/14/ways-to-survive-the-holiday-season-when-youre-grieving/

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Free Family Event Celebrating Life, Death and Meaningful Connections

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Grief and Loss impacts Everyone.

Am honoured to co-host and co-facilitate this free public event. In support of Children's Grief Awareness Day and National Bereavement Day, "The 100% Certainty Project – Death: Something to Talk About" is hosting a FREE public event for parents and children at the Hamilton Public Library. Please join us for:

- a reading of the children’s book The Funeral by Matt James, award-winning Author

- a creative family activity exploring grief, loss and meaningful connections

- grief and bereavement resources from Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association & Canadian Virtual Hospice

CBC Books on The Funeral: "This sensitive and life-affirming story will lead young readers to ask their own questions about life, death and how we remember those who have gone before us"

Please note, this is not a counselling session or grief support group.

While this is a free event, registration is REQUIRED via:  https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/free-public-event-for-parents-and-children-on-grief-and-bereavement-tickets-50531981517

Exploring the Language of Loss: Caring, Supporting and Empowering

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Honoured to offer "Exploring the Language of Loss: Caring, Supporting and Empowering" as the Opening Keynote for the PalCare Network 2018 Fall Symposium.

This workshop will explore the language of loss while also examining tools and resources to support individuals, families, and ourselves. 

Objectives:
1. Examine the impact of loss in person and family-centred care
2. Encourage the caregiver to engage in the dialogue of loss
3. Explore self-care as an essential element of professional practice 

For more information about the PalCare 2018 Fall Symposium, or to register, please visit: http://www.palcarenetwork.org/

From Diagnosis to Bereavement: Engaging the Public Across the Continuum

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Excited to present "From Diagnosis to Bereavement: Engaging the Public Across the Continuum" at the 2018 Partners in Care: Central West Palliative Care Network Annual Conference. 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
1. Consider systems challenges impacting care of people facing dying and loss;
2. Examine psychosocial implications for individuals, families and healthcare providers facing illness, grief and bereavement; 
3. Explore compassionate community events as essential opportunities to engage the public following a life-limiting diagnosis through to bereavement. 

For more information, or to register, please visit: http://cwpcn.ca/en/annual-conference/

End Game Documentary and Discussion

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Excited to co-host and participate on the panel for the launch of the 2018-9 season of "The 100% Certainty Project. Death: Something to Talk About". Join us for a screening of the Netflix documentary, "END GAME" followed by a conversation with Palliative Care clinicians.

Our free public event at McMaster University features the brilliant documentary "End Game" from Shoshana Ungerleider, MD highlighting the essential tenets of Hospice Palliative Care. The film showcases the collaboration, compassion and communication as the heart of person and family-centred care at UCSF Medical Center with Steven Pantilat and the extraordinary interprofessional team. The film also highlights the brilliant work of Zen Hospice Project, showcasing Dr. BJ Miller and the extraordinary interprofessional team in Hospice.

Please join us for this engaging event! While the event is free, registration is required via Eventbrite via https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/end-game-documentary-and-discussion-tickets-50535681584

Almost all Canadians would benefit from palliative care. Only one in seven can actually access it at end-of-life

“The key to providing decent palliative care is a little bit of basic planning. Four conditions – cancer, cardiovascular disease, COPD (lung disease) and diabetes – account for 70 per cent of deaths.

Those chronic conditions all have fairly predictable courses of illness in the terminal phase. You don’t get diagnosed with lung cancer or heart failure one day and die the next. It’s a months-long process and providing pain relief (palliation) should be standard, and a priority.

Two in three people receive home care in their last year of life. But only one in seven receive palliative care in the home.

That’s the failure point – and that’s what we need to fix.

There needs to be a commitment – philosophical and financial – to bringing palliative care to patients when they need it and where they want it.

Not everyone can (or should) be cared for at home in their final days. It’s back-breaking, emotionally-draining work for loved ones. Yet many would do so willingly and lovingly.

But they run up against a gross number of barriers, ranging from difficultly getting home visits from physicians (who are poorly remunerated for that work in many provinces), lack of nursing support (because of caps on home care hours), and absurd rules that mean drugs taken at home are not covered by medicare.

All the problems raised by the CIHI report are easily resolved. For example, having paramedics provide palliative care can eliminate transfers to hospitals. Sending doctors and nurses to homes or nursing homes can free up hospital beds – and save money in the process. Not to mention that, at the very least, people deserve a modicum of dignity in their dying days.

The whole point of palliative care is to improve quality of life. We shouldn’t let bureaucratic and structural inadequacies undermine that necessary and noble work.“ by the brilliant André Picard via The Globe and Mail

Professional Competencies with the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University

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Thrilled to be teaching Professional Competencies with the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University.

"In Pre-Clinical studies, Professional Competencies (Pro Comp) runs in parallel to the Medical Foundations. Groups of 8-10 students work with a pair of facilitators, one MD and one a clinician from a different discipline. The groups stay together for the entirety of Pre-Clinical, meeting every Tuesday morning for 3 hours. They explore material covering seven domains: effective communication, medical decision-making, moral reasoning and ethical judgement, population health, professionalism and self-awareness and self-care, interprofessional practice and social, cultural and humanistic dimensions of health." via https://mdprogram.mcmaster.ca/mcmaster-md-program/what-is-compass2/pre-clinical/pro-comp 

Innovative Undergraduate and Graduate Social Work Programs at Wilfrid Laurier University

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Honoured to be teaching with the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University again this year. Excited to be teaching "Social Work Practice with Groups" to the Undergraduate Bachelor of Social Work Program, and "Advanced Practice with Families" to the Graduate Master of Social Work Program. 

For more information about the innovative B.S.W Program or the M.S.W. Program, please visit:  
https://www.wlu.ca/academics/faculties/faculty-of-social-work/index.html

Healthcare Continuing Education: Palliative Care Certificate Program at Mohawk College

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Excited to be teaching my 9th consecutive semester in the Palliative Care Certificate Program for regulated and certified healthcare professionals (RNs, RPNs, OTs, PTs, RTs, SLPs, Social Workers, Dieticians, Physicians, etc.) with Continuing Education @mohawkcollege 

It is so important to demystify the breadth and scope of this approach to care while highlighting the need for early integration of Palliative Care. Every healthcare provider has an active role to play in supporting anyone (individual or family) facing a complex illness, from time of diagnosis, through to bereavement.

For more information about this holistic and collaborative interprofessional certificate program, please visit: https://www.mohawkcollege.ca/ce/programs/health-and-nursing/palliative-care-multidiscipline-017 

Support for individuals and families across Canada facing Pancreatic Cancer

Am honoured to be part of this brilliant new initiative offering free support to anyone facing Pancreatic Cancer across Canada. This initiative is a collaboration between Pancreatic Cancer Canada Foundation and Wellspring Cancer Support Network

For more information, or to access support, please visit: https://wellspring.ca/online-resources/pancreatic-cancer-peer-support/  

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The Gift of a Hug for a Grieving Child or Teen

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Receiving a #Hug from a loved one is an incredible connection. Giving hand-knitted Hugs to #grieving #kids and #teens facing the dying or death of a loved one is a wonderful gift.

These #knitted Memory Scarves were made by #volunteers with Canadian Virtual Hospice in support of KidsGrief.ca providing a loving Hug and free resources to grieving kids, teens and families facing dying, grief and loss.

For more information, please visit: http://kidsgrief.ca/

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