Communication

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

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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.

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

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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Extremis Documentary and Discussion

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Excited to co-host our next free public event with the Department of Family Medicine, Division of Palliative Care at McMaster University. This evening is part of our compassionate community initiative, “The 100% Certainty Project. Death: Something to Talk About". We will: feature the book “Extreme Measures" by Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter; view the remarkable Oscar-nominated documentary “Extremis” from Shoshana Ungerleider, MD; provide Advance Care Planning resources from the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association; and close the evening with a panel discussion comprised of clinicians and educators. This free public event in support of National Advance Care Planning Day. To register, please visit: Eventbrite

Many healthcare students and providers do not feel prepared to encounter dying and death

Am excited to co-facilitate this event with the Division of Palliative Care at McMaster University as we discuss, "What makes life worth living in the face of death?".

Many healthcare students and providers do not feel prepared to encounter dying and death. As part of our 100% Certainty Project. Death: Something to Talk About, this event will feature: the stunning memoir When Breath Becomes Air; will show the brilliant TED Talk from Dr. Lucy Kalanithi; and will conclude the evening with a Death Cafe where we will discuss how to make the most of our finite lives.

Dinner is provided. Registration is required and space is limited. All healthcare disciplines are welcome!

For information, or to register, visit:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/100-certainty-project-death-cafe-tickets-43946860242 

Burlington Death Café. In Celebration of World Hospice Palliative Care Day

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In Celebration of World Hospice Palliative Care Day, and in support of the Burlington Compassionate City Charter and the Carpenter Hospice, the Burlington Death Café will be held on October 11th, 2017 from 7-9pm at Emma's Back Porch.

Death Café is an international movement where people, often strangers, gather together to eat, drink and discuss death. The objective is 'to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’.

At Death Café, you can expect a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group, rather than grief support or a counselling session. It is a respectful, public event where people of all communities and belief systems are welcome to have discussions about death.

Interesting conversation is guaranteed!

This is a free public event, but seating is limited. For information, or to register, please visit Eventbrite

For more information about Death Café, please visit http://deathcafe.com/

Cancer Mythbusters: Is Palliative Care Only for End-of-Life Patients?

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"Palliative Care is an often misunderstood specialty, focused on providing support and pain management strategies to cancer patients throughout all stages of their illness. This approach, which can be blended into curative cancer therapy, focuses on care for the whole person: mind, body, and spirit."

Source: Cancer Mythbusters - Is Palliative Care Only for End-of-Life Patients?

Unfinished Business in Families of Terminally Ill with Cancer Patients

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" Families with unfinished business had significantly higher depression and grief scores after bereavement compared with those without."

Source: Unfinished Business in Families of Terminally Ill with Cancer Patients

YES, I WRITE ABOUT DEATH: ON THE WAYS PEOPLE RESPOND TO A “DEATH JOB” AND HOW I HANDLE IT

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"I tell them that it’s never my goal to glamorize death or tell people how they should or shouldn’t feel about death. I only hope my writing gives people permission to broach the topic."

Source: YES, I WRITE ABOUT DEATH: ON THE WAYS PEOPLE RESPOND TO A “DEATH JOB” AND HOW I HANDLE IT

 

Joe Primo on Supporting Grieving Children

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"There is a cultural narrative that tells us that bad things don’t happen to good people. As a result, we spend a lot of time protecting kids from natural life events, like death."

Source: Joe Primo on Supporting Grieving Children. Option B

 

10 Things My Chronic Illness Taught My Children

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"All three of us work to maintain balance — knowing when we need to flex and when we need to release, when to put pain first and when to let it fade into the moment."

Source: 10 Things My Chronic Illness Taught My Children

Palliative Care: the Pearl of Great Price

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"Palliative care is the stance of being comfortable with the unknown, a stance that leads to the development of confidence, resilience, and empowerment in patients and families receiving the best care... we are all vulnerable, all subject to suffering, old age, and death..."

Source: Palliative Care: the Pearl of Great Price

Patients feel psycho-social impact of chemo more acutely than physical side effects

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Highlighting the need for integrated Person and Family-Centred Care...

"The results show that there might be a gap between what doctors think is important or disturbing for patients, and what patients really think. Physical, psychological, social and spiritual support is needed at every stage of the disease" 

Source: Patients feel psycho-social impact of chemo more acutely than physical side effects. MedicalXpress

Grief In The Classroom: 'Saying Nothing Says A Lot'

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" 'Virtually all children will go through it — but that doesn't mean it's a normalizing experience,' says Dr. David Schonfeld, an expert on student grief and a driving force behind the new website. 'Even though it's common, it warrants our attention.' "

Source: Grief In The Classroom: 'Saying Nothing Says A Lot'

Practising compassion in an uncompassionate health system. Hearts in Healthcare

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"Yet, amidst the storm, some remarkable health professionals create a circle of calm. They go about their work in an unhurried way, finding time to greet their patients, put them at ease, listening deeply and offering kindness and compassion. They don’t neglect their clinical tasks, indeed they seem to get the work done with quiet efficiency. These inspiring workers go home with satisfaction and joy in their hearts. How is that possible?"

Source: Hearts in Healthcare Practising compassion in an uncompassionate health system