Access to Care

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 

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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Do you know a grieving child or youth (aged 6-17) who could benefit from support?

Do you know a grieving child or youth (aged 6-17) who could benefit from support?

Am proud to be the new Clinical Director for Camp Erin Hamilton and want to share information regarding this extraordinary free camp. 

Camp Erin is a FREE weekend bereavement camp (held annually in June) for children and teens ages 6-17 who are grieving the death of someone close to them (parent, caregiver, sibling). Campers participate in fun, traditional camp activities combined with grief education and emotional support, led by expert bereavement professionals and trained volunteers.

The following short videos capture Camp Erin Hamilton and highlights some of the kids and teens sharing the brilliant range of experiences that both normalize their thoughts and feelings and further empower them to cope with grief and loss.

If you know a grieving child or teen (6-17 yo) who would benefit from this experience, camper applications are now being accepted. Camper applications are due March 26th.

For more information, please watch the following video, or visit Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice or https://kemphospice.org/camp-erinfor details and application forms. 

A Wonderful evening at the Burlington Death Cafe!

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Thank you to all in attendance this evening at the City of Burlington, Ontario Death Cafe in support of World Hospice Palliative Care Day, The Carpenter Hospice and the Compassionate City Charter. It was indeed an uplifting evening of inspiring conversations (& lots of laughter!). Great opportunity to demystify the incredible breadth and scope of Hospice Palliative Care!

Special thanks to the staff and volunteers of Carpenter Hospice who gave of their time this evening, and to our wonderful hosts at Emma's Back Porch & Water Street Cooker!

Next Burlington Death Cafe is in April in support of Advance Care Planning Day! #talkaboutdeath

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

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

Camp Erin: Where Children and Teens Learn to Grieve and Heal

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Am honoured to volunteer with Camp Erin. It is indeed a remarkable community and one that nurtures capacity in children and youth to grieve the death of a loved one.

"Children and teens ages 6-17 attend a transformational weekend camp that combines traditional, fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support, free of charge for all families. Led by grief professionals and trained volunteers, Camp Erin provides a unique opportunity for youth to increase levels of hope, enhance self-esteem, and especially to learn that they are not alone.

Camp Erin is offered in every Major League Baseball city as well as additional locations across the U.S. and Canada. The Moyer Foundation partners with hospices and bereavement organizations to bring hope and healing to thousands of grieving children and teens each year.

Camp Erin allows youth to:

  • Tell their story in a safe environment
  • Process grief in healthy ways
  • Meet friends facing similar circumstances
  • Learn they are not alone
  • Build a tool-box of coping skills
  • Honor and memorialize loved ones
  • Have fun!"

Source: Camp Erin. The Moyer Foundation 

For information on Camp Erin locations in Ontario, please visit: Camp Erin Hamilton; Camp Erin Toronto; Camp Erin Eastern Ontario; Camp Erin Montreal

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Hospice Palliative Care is about Living Well. Right to the End. 

It's National Hospice Palliative Care Week and it is so important to demystify and destigmatize the incredible breadth and scope of Hospice Palliative Care. 

Hospice Palliative Care is about Living Well. Right to the End. 

Hospice Palliative Care is aimed at relieving suffering and improving the quality of life for persons who are living with, or dying from, advanced illness or are bereaved. 

The goal of Palliative Care is to provide comfort and dignity for the person living with the illness, as well as the best quality of life for both this person and his or her family*.

Palliative Care services are helpful not only when a person is approaching death but also during the earlier stages of an illness. Palliative care may be combined with other treatments aimed at reducing or curing the illness.

*”family" is whoever the person says his or her family is.

For more information and resources regarding Hospice Palliative Care, please visit the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association

The diagnosis of a serious Illness. Important considerations to discuss with the Healthcare Team

Starting a Conversation with Your Healthcare Team

Whether you or a loved one have been newly diagnosed with a serious illness, or have been told your disease has progressed, you will have to make decisions about treatment. You may have many thoughts and emotions at this time. This can be a time of uncertainty and it is common to feel worried. It can be helpful to ask your healthcare team questions about what to expect, how to plan and what support and resources are available to you and your family. 

It can be helpful to ask your healthcare team questions about your illness so that you can best understand your treatment options. The following is a list of questions that may help you to make informed decisions about your plan of care. Please ask these questions if they are helpful in guiding you and your family, or ask whatever questions are important to you. It can be helpful to bring your list of questions to your medical appointment and record/write down the answers. If you have the support available, you can have someone accompany you to your appointments to listen and help record the details. 

Some questions you may ask your Healthcare Team: 

• Is the condition short or long-term? Reversible or irreversible? 

• Is the Illness curable or incurable?

• What types of treatment are available to treat the illness/condition? 

• Where is this treatment offered? Hospital? Clinic? Home? 

• What is the goal of treatment (cure, manage pain/symptoms, improve function, extend life)? 

• If the goal of treatment is to extend-life, how long does the average person live while receiving this treatment? What about those who do not receive this treatment? 

• How often is this treatment successful? 

• Does having this illness/condition impact the effectiveness of treatments/
interventions one might receive in an Intensive Care Unit? 

• What are the common risks and side effects of this treatment? Are there any possible dangers connected to this treatment? 

• Where and how often will I receive this treatment? How long do you expect this treatment to continue? 

• Is there a financial cost associated with this treatment? 

• When and how will you know if these treatments are working? 

• When or why might these treatments stop? If this treatment stops, what are other treatment options? 

• How will this treatment impact my life? What are the expected physical, emotional, psychological and practical issues? 

• What type of additional support is available to me? What about my family? 

• What are the physical, emotional, psychological and practical resources that
can help? How do I/my family access them?

It is important to take time to have conversations about your treatment with your healthcare team. Please ask questions that are important to you. Honest and open communication about your healthcare is so essential. 

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".

Why Talking About Death Is the Key to the Longevity Revolution

 

"Now, in the midst of a longevity revolution with a passion to create new rituals and connections that help a community to, yes, thrive, we are recognizing that dying is also a profound and shared human experience. Its time to talk about it."

Why Talking About Death Is the Key to the Longevity Revolution by Ellen Goodman

 

Why is it so hard to talk about dying? @whenyoudieorg #hpm

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"When heading into the unknown unprepared, we humans are rarely at our most confident. And when it comes to death, we have plenty of reason to feel anxious. It’s times like these that we need to hear from those who’ve gone before us. And that’s what our latest WYD In Focus provides: candid accounts from family members and caregivers who’ve been present at the deaths of loved ones—because understanding what happens at the bedside might surprise you."

Source: When You Die

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.”

Sign the e-petition to support Bill C-277. An Act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada

Petition to the Minister of Health

Whereas:

  • the 2011 Report from the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care outlined the importance of quality palliative care, which must be available to all Canadians in order for there to be a real choice at end of life;
  • upwards of 70% of Canadians do not have access to quality palliative care; and
  • Canadians deserve to be treated with care and compassion during their last days to live as well as they can for as long they can.

Source: E-petitions. House of Commons

Less than 600 Canadians had signed this online petition as of October 1st. 

Please sign the online petition to the Minister of Health is open for signature until November 9, 2016.

Please advocate for a national strategy and universal access to Hospice Palliative Care. Show your support for Bill C-277 to improve access to care for all Canadians.

A framework designed to guarantee all Canadians access to high-quality palliative care

This enactment provides for the development and implementation of a framework designed to guarantee all Canadians access to high-quality palliative care. 

1. This Act may be cited as the Framework on Palliative Care in Canada Act.

Development and implementation

2. (1) The Minister of Health must, in consultation with the representatives of the provincial and territorial governments responsible for health, as well as with palliative care providers, develop and implement a framework designed to give Canadians access to palliative care — provided through hospitals, home care, long-term care facilities and residential hospices — that, among other things,

(a) defines what palliative care is;

(b) identifies the palliative care training and education needs of palliative health care providers; 

(c) identifies measures to support palliative caregivers;

(d) collects research and data on palliative care; 

(e) identifies measures to facilitate a consistent access to palliative care across Canada; and

(f) evaluates the advisability of amending the Canada Health Actto include palliative care services provided through home care, long term care facilities and residential hospices.

Source: Parliament of Canada

The End Game: Conversations about Life and Death #hpm #ACP

Throughout life, we celebrate milestones - weddings, births, anniversaries - but the milestone that we are most often afraid to confront is one of the most impactful - death. 

For many people, talking about end-of-life is uncomfortable or even taboo. But sooner or later, we all face death. What fears are holding us back from having essential conversations that will improve our own lives and the lives of those we care about? 

We understand that death is informed by the lived experience and want to create opportunities for the lived experience to be better informed. We have just launched a new series creating public forums to empower people to have conversations about living and dying. We want to foster opportunities for the general public, healthcare professionals, first responders, health science students, residents of long term care, financial planners, faith communities and community organizations to talk about living and dying. We strive to normalize conversations about living and dying in a non-judgemental, non-denominational, upbeat and interactive session. We aim to provide attendees the opportunity to consider their values and receive credible resources regarding advance care planning and end-of-life care.

For more details about our free event or to register please follow this link to EventBrite

#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."

@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 "