Support

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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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 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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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?

Calling for a Palliative Care Culture

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Palliative Care is the future of medicine "It has social and political dimensions that spring from its grounding in a commitment to relieve total pain, which includes spiritual pain."

Source: Calling for a Palliative Care Culture

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

Death: A Part of Life. A 5-Part Mini Series (podcast)

Am honoured to have been a guest panelist on the final instalment of Death: A Part of Life - Part 5: The Grieving Process.

This informative 5-Part radio series with the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice aired on CHML 900. Each week panelists including caregivers and healthcare professionals convened to open up a conversation about dying, death, grief and loss. The series explores issues such as: coping with the diagnosis of a serious illness; demystifying hospice palliative care; exploring available supports and services; advance care planning; the dying process and grieving which ultimately impacts us all.

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The links to the podcasts of Death: A Part of Life are listed below:

 Death, A Part Of Life - Part 1: Palliative Care

It’s a fact of life that at one point we all will die. But is it all as simple as that? Bill Kelly and the Bob Kemp hospice will be discussing grief, relief and the acceptance of passing away. On today’s show we discuss what happens when you’re told you don’t have much time left, and whether healthcare is asking too much of caregivers, and whether people are prepared for palliative care.

Death, A Part Of Life - Part 2: Changes To Palliative Care.

For our second show, we will discuss what the palliative care system is now, how it works and what changes need to be made. What does one of our local MPPs hear from his constituents about healthcare and in particular, palliative care? How would changes affect patients? Does fear have a hold on how we make our decisions once we’re diagnosed as palliative? An example of this is whether to choose palliative care or medically assisted death.

Death, A Part Of Life - Part 3: Religion and Palliative Care.

We continue our series this week with two topics. The first one will be discussing the experience of death. Everyone treats death in our world differently. But is it strictly a medical experience or is it a spiritual one? In our second half, we will talk about access to palliative care services in various sectors of our society. How do we help the vulnerable and the community obtain access to proper palliative care?

Death: A Part of Life - Part 4: Bucket lists and preparation.

Life should be celebrated at all stages, whether it be infancy, adulthood and as life comes to a close. So how can we make the most out of life? How can those who are in palliative care achieve their “bucket list” dreams before they pass, and how does it apply when it comes to their own personal circumstances? How do we define a “bucket list”? How wise is it to be prepared for eventual health issues? How should we plan for advanced care and how does it affect the family? How do we navigate through the difficult decisions and pain to provide care for loved ones who are palliative?

Death: A Part of Life - Part 5: The grieving process.

The final instalment in our series sees us discussing grief and how this isn’t just an event that happens in life but a process that families have to go through. How do families grieve the loss of a loved one? How can we support one another and how does grief affect children?

Source: Global News. AM 900 CHML

How to Speak to Someone About an Unspeakable Loss

"Today, as I recall the loss of my own infant son, I think about the one person who did truly comfort me. She arrived at my house with a bottle of fine brandy and said, “This is everyone’s worst nightmare. I am so, so sorry this has happened.”

Then we sat on the lawn and she poured me a drink as she listened to every horrible detail.

As I look back now, I still feel how much her gesture helped me cope through those early days of pain. She didn’t try to fix me or try to make sense of what happened. She didn’t even try to comfort me. The comfort she gave came through her being in it with me.

You can’t fix what happened, but you can sit with someone, side by side, so they don’t feel quite so alone. That requires only intention, a willingness to feel awkward, and an open, listening heart. It’s the one gift that can make a difference."

Who Will Care for the Caregivers?

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"If it’s a certainty that all of us will experience illness, it’s a near-certainty that most of us will care for someone with an illness. But our current conception of patient and disease seems too narrow. It may help to recognize that while patients’ needs come first, illness is often a family affair.

For many, caring for a loved one provides tremendous purpose and fulfillment. It can deepen relationships and offer the time and space for connection where it otherwise might not exist. It seems that the goal, then, should not be to reduce family caregiving, but to reduce its burdens".

What people talk about before they die

“I visit people who are dying -- in their homes, in hospitals, in nursing homes. And if you were to ask me the same question -- What do people who are sick and dying talk about with the chaplain? -- I, without hesitation or uncertainty, would give you the same answer. Mostly, they talk about their families: about their mothers and fathers, their sons and daughters.

They talk about the love they felt, and the love they gave. Often they talk about love they did not receive, or the love they did not know how to offer, the love they withheld, or maybe never felt for the ones they should have loved unconditionally.”

What it Really Means to Hold Space for Someone #Grief

"It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control."

Children's Grief Awareness Day November 17, 2016 #CGADHOPE

"Children's Grief Awareness Day is designed to help us all become more aware of the needs of grieving children — and of the benefits they obtain through the support of others. Children's Grief Awareness Day is an opportunity to make sure that grieving children receive the support they need.”

@DianeSAckerman on What Working at a Suicide Prevention Hotline Taught Her About the Human Spirit @brainpickings

“Choice is a signature of our species. We choose to live, sometimes we choose our own death, but most of the time we make choices just to prove choice is possible. Above all else, we value the right to choose one’s destiny. The very young and some lucky few may find their days opening one onto another like a set of ornate doors, but most people make an unconscious vow each morning to get through the day’s stresses and labors intact, without becoming overwhelmed or wishing to escape into death. Everybody has thought about suicide, or knows somebody who committed suicide, and then felt “pushed another inch, and it could have been me.” As Emile Zola once said, some mornings you first have to swallow your toad of disgust before you can get on with the day. We choose to live. But suicidal people have tunnel vision—no other choice seems possible. A counselor’s job is to put windows and doors in that tunnel”.

Observing the Wish to #Die at #Home. #hpm

“We often hear from family members that they find great value in our Guide for Family Caregivers, detailed information on how to handle such common end-of-life symptoms as breathing problems, pain, changes in behavior and sleeplessness. The piece details several signs that may signal a loved one is transitioning from life to death, such as no appetite or urine output, and changes in breathing sounds and patterns.

We encourage people to be a calm presence, to hold the loved ones hand, to call in others who wish to be present, as well as call Hospice for support. Hearing is the final sense to go, so we encourage family members to continue speaking to their loved one, reassuring that everything is all right.

‘What we are trying to do is normalize what they are going through,’ says Joel. Death, after all, is not an aberration but a universal end we all one day meet. ‘We want the family members to know what the very end of life looks like and what they can do when the time comes. What can they do? Literally, just hold your loved one’s hand’.”

WHAT’S MY #STAGE AGAIN: SHARING IS #CARING. @robinmbrowne

 

"It can be hard to feel like anyone understands what you’re going through, and can be discouraging when message boards and support groups don’t give you the emotional reinforcement you need. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and alone with your thoughts if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your situation with those around you. Not everyone wants to post about their experiences on Facebook, or live-tweet each scan. If you tend towards the private side, there are still some resources I’ve found that can help with feeling less alone with your struggle...

One of the great loves of my life, Fred Rogers (also known as Mister Rogers), once said, “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.” There’s no easy way to start the process of emotional healing, but sharing your experience with others can be a strong foothold for that journey."