Awareness

Breaking Down Barriers: The Role of Social Work and Social Service Work in the Context of Complex Illness, Uncertainty and Grief

Honoured to present "Breaking Down Barriers: The Role of Social Work and Social Service Work in the Context of Complex Illness, Uncertainty and Grief" at the OCSWSSW 2018 AMED.

"Serious illness, dying and grief remain taboo in society, yet the diagnosis of a serious illness has a profound impact on an individual and their loved ones, and often results in feelings of uncertainty, isolation and grief. This presentation will explore the role of social work and social service work in providing compassionate care for individuals and families of all ages following the diagnosis of a complex illness, at end of life and into bereavement.

Elizabeth will speak to the roles of social work and social service work in providing education to demystify these issues and further advocate to break down barriers while promoting greater access to support, within our own practice and within our communities." 

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For information, or to register, please visit: OCSWSSW

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 

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

What Flying Can Teach Us About Rising Above the Turbulence

“I wonder if we can find in our own heart our own pilot who will search for more calm airs. Could we move up or down a bit to find a more peaceful state of the heart? Do we buckle up and patiently persevere through the storms of life? Is the turbulence something to avoid and get over, or is it life itself? Part of life?

I know there is wisdom in looking at serenity, not at merely “transcending” the storm, but also in navigating life. We are never promised pure bliss, or perfectly smooth sailing. A mature spiritual life consists of being able to navigate the storms. This I know.

I do remember the teachings of Buddhism, reminding us that the muck that the lotus rises through sustains the flower. This I know.

But I also know that not all of these stages are equally good, equally nourishing, equally beautiful for our hearts. That there are in us, inside us, more peaceful skies. Somewhere higher, or deeper, in us there is also a calm and tranquil realm of the spirit. It is breathing with the serenity above the turbulent clouds that there are blue skies and the warm sun. It is the state of being one with the One, breathing with the Source of all the universe. And what majestic intimacy there is Here. Now.

That serene realm, above the clouds, is not There. It is here, right here already with us…”

Full Article: On Being

The Wisdom of Uncertainty

“ ‘What we’re looking for is where we are.’

Can we learn to live in joy amongst all that this great unknowing has to offer? Jack guides us through some of the key principles of the awakened heart, encouraging an attitude of graciousness toward the mysterious nature of our existence.”

Full article at JackKornfield.com

When Grief Gets Physical: dealing with physical grief symptoms

"There is simply no way to anticipate what grief feels like.  It is one of those experiences that you can describe to someone, but it is impossible to really understand it until you are forced to live with it.  Of all the unimaginable aspects of grief, there is one thing we hear people say time and again that they really didn’t expect: physical grief symptoms. They might not have been fully able to appreciate the emotional rollercoaster of grief until they were on it, but they at least had a sense it was part of the process.  The physical stuff is something many people tell us they simply didn’t know to expect until it hit them like a ton of bricks.

When this happens, it can be distressing.  Anytime we have new, uncomfortable physical issues it is distressing.  But in grief that can sometimes be coupled with a new level of anxiety.  In the past, a headache was a headache.  After the devastating loss of a loved one, you are all-to-familiar with the reality that life can turn on a dime."

Read the full article at What's Your Grief

#Palliative Care is not about #dying, but about quality of #living @JMyersPallCare #hpm

There are a multitude of misconceptions surrounding Palliative Care - what it is and what it isn't. Sadly, many are not open to the prospect of Palliative Care because it presented as a departure from "active care" or moreover they believe that Palliative Care is only provided at end of life. It is in fact so much more than that... I truly appreciate this article demystifying the scope and breadth of Palliative Care written by Dr. Jeff Myers, a Palliative Physician, empathic clinician, extraordinary advocate and educator...

"At a time when assisted dying dominates discussion about end-of-life care, I think it’s important to address public fears around palliative care so that people can use the information to improve their quality of life.

Palliative care is not what happens when all treatments have failed. It does not mean “giving up” or “stopping the fight.” If you are fighting cancer or Lou Gehrig’s disease, palliative care means a team of people — such as doctors, nurses, social workers and others — will help make sure you have what you need to continue fighting.

As a palliative care physician, I am deeply committed to improving end-of-life experiences for people and their families. My focus is not on the disease itself but on the impact it can have, like relieving the severity of symptoms with the overall goal of improving quality of life.

It’s my job to know what matters to you and to make sure you’re not spending time and energy on bothersome symptoms that needlessly wear you down. Pain is a good example: terrible pain from cancer can be exhausting, consume a ton of energy and is worse for the body than any medications aiming to manage the pain. There is no need for a person fighting cancer to also try fighting pain.

There is now very clear evidence that people who receive specialized palliative care actually live longer than those who do not. This is why it’s so important to understand that palliative care is not about giving up — far from it. It’s about living the very best you can for as long as you do."

How might we reimagine the end-of-life experience for ourselves and our loved ones? @OpenIDEO #hpm

“ ‘...I am asking that we make space – physical, psychic room, to allow life to play itself all the way out – so that rather than just getting out of the way, aging and dying can become a process of crescendo through to the end.’ ~ BJ Miller

Each of our lives is a story. As we plan for its final chapter, we have the opportunity to incorporate our passions, relationships, and spirituality to make dying better. How might we make this process more human-centered so we can live fully until the very end? Let’s re-imagine how we prepare for, share and live through the final chapter of our story.”

Talking About #Death Won’t Kill You. @Kathykm @TEDTalks #Death #Education #hpm

"An unconventional death educator with an equal parts wry and wise delivery style, Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller is committed to showing her audience that talking about death and dying won’t kill you. Using stories and research, Kathy extends an invitation to view death as not a taboo subject - but rather a shared life experience. Audience members walk away with shifted perspectives and a deep understanding that talking about death, without knowing or needing all the “answers”, actually brings us closer to our loved ones than we ever imagined possible."

When the #Patient Won’t Ever Get Better @danielalamasmd #hpm #ACP

“In the early moments of critical illness, the choices seem relatively simple, the stakes high – you live or you die. But the chronically critically ill inhabit a kind of in-between purgatory state, all uncertainty and lingering. How do we explain this to families just as they breathe a sigh of relief that their loved one hasn’t died? Should we use the words “chronic critical illness”? Would it change any decisions if we were to do so? Here, I find that I am often at a loss.

I was quiet on the other end of the phone line that night. Was my patient stable? For the moment, she was. But with each event like this one, and there would be more, my patient would move further from the hope of ever reclaiming that life she had had in the fall: living in her own home, watching movies, cooking. I felt that I could see the weeks and months spooling out, a moment of calm, a new emergency. But this wasn’t the time to tell her daughter, not on the phone, not tonight.

And so I told her the truth – one truth, at least. Her mother was critically ill, but stable for the night”.

@CanadianHPCAssn #National #Hospice #Palliative Care Week Busting the #Myths #hpm

National Hospice Palliative Care Week will run May 1-7, 2016 under the theme Hospice Palliative Care First and features an FAQ, Mythbusters, and includes information for health care professionals.

"There are many ways to start the conversation about end-of-life care in Canada. Spreading awareness and education is one of the best ways to advocate for change and ensure that every Canadian has access to quality hospice palliative care.

Visit the official Advance Care Planning website at www.advancecareplanning.ca for resources to share and distribute.

Learn about the integrated palliative approach to care developed by the Way Forward project at www.nationalframework.ca

Use the “Power of 10” materials developed by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association to spread the word about hospice palliative care in your communities. These materials can be found here: www.chpca.net/week

Spread the materials developed for this year’s campaign “Hospice Palliative Care First” found here: www.chpca.net/hpcfirst "

Wondering What Caused the #Cancer @nytimes

"I think the question reflects a human desire to revisit events that occurred over a lifetime, and speculate whether a change in course could have avoided an untoward outcome.

In truth, though, except in very rare cases, it is almost impossible to say that a specific environmental exposure triggered a given person’s cancer. The majority of cancers arise randomly, as if thumbing their nose at our collective need to find a cause.

But that doesn’t stop me from trying, during the part of the clinic visit when it’s my turn to ask the questions. And sometimes, I even convince myself that I have uncovered that nugget of truth that explains disease".

MyGrief.ca helps you to understand and work through your #Grief. @VirtualHospice

"MyGrief.ca Because losing someone is hard. MyGrief.ca helps you to understand and work through your grief.

  • Confidential
  • Access in the privacy of your own home
  • Developed by families and grief experts
  • Stories from people who have "been there"
  • A resource for professionals"

Important Conversations with Experts in the Field about #Dying and #Death. #hpm

Important conversation about supporting quality of life and the need for universal access to Palliative Care - the comprehensive care supporting individuals and families facing a life-limiting illness from time of diagnosis to end-of-life and into bereavement.

What Happens After Now? Being in the #here and #now is what #mindfulness is all about.

"Many of us come to mindfulness seeking relief from the confusing jumble of thoughts that dominate our lives much of the time. So the first gift that mindfulness gives us—after we get accustomed to the shocking simplicity of sitting and doing nothing—is a little bit of peace. We’re no longer as tormented by our thoughts, since as we observe them come and go, no single thought seems to be a big deal anymore. It’s like being at a laundromat watching the clothes tumble in a big dryer. We don’t have to tumble along with the clothes; we can just watch them fall through space."

Before I #die I want to... "Thinking about #Death clarifies your #Life". @candychang

“In her New Orleans neighborhood, artist and TED Fellow Candy Chang turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard asking a fill-in-the-blank question: ‘Before I die I want to ___.’ Her neighbors' answers — surprising, poignant, funny — became an unexpected mirror for the community. (What's your answer?)”

Things No One Told Me About #Grief

“No one purposefully neglected to tell me these things about grief. Loss, pain, sorrow, heartbreak, they are all simply topics that aren’t discussed in depth and that are experienced in both unique and universal ways. To say: this is how you will experience grief robs it of the unique, yet to say: this is how we mortals experience grief is to give the gift of not being alone. How do we talk about things for which there are no words, in any language that can capture the whole of it? The pain of tragedy burns so deeply and transformatively that we pander around in art, movies, poetry, flowers, songs, essays, trying to grasp the unfathomable. That’s what tears are for, they are the words of the utterly crushed…

No one ever told me that explicitly, either, but I think I’ve known it all along. That love both breaks and heals. Walking through loss with my daughter and sharing our grief is strengthening our relationship. Even though it won’t miraculously heal scars or close up black holes of loss, shared grief is what love looks like.”

Why we need better #end-of-life #policies in #seniors’ residences. #LTC

“How we die is regularly in the headlines as we await government legislation to be tabled in response to the 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision legalizing physician-assisted dying. Palliative care gets less attention, but it is what most of us will want at the end of life: drugs to relieve agitation, pain, agonal breathing and other symptoms. Nurses can provide soothing medications, but only after doctors have issued prescriptions, often with increasing dosages. But as the Crosbie family discovered, doctors are few and far between in long-term care facilities, especially on weekends. Their experience is a cautionary tale.”

Are #Families Ready For The #Death And #Dying #Conversation? #ACP #InformedChoice

"The Institute of Medicine (IOM) believes the time is right for a national dialogue to normalize the emotions on death and dying. They think that the social trends point toward a growing willingness to share stories about the end-of-life care and that it will help drive more family discussions. In the IOM consensus report, Dying in America, experts found that accessibility of medical and social services could improve a patient’s life at the end. But if people don’t discuss which medical care or social services they want or not, how will their wishes be known and carried out?"