Compassion

Breaking Down Barriers in the Context of Complex Illness, Uncertainty and Grief

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Am truly honoured to be presenting "Breaking Down Barriers in the Context of Complex Illness, Uncertainty and Grief" at the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers 2018 Annual Meeting and Education Day.

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. I 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.

For more information, please visit:  http://www.ocswssw.org/members/amed/2018-amed/

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Exploring the Faces of Loss: Caring, Supporting, Empowering

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Excited to facilitate this interactive workshop at the 11th Annual Day in Faculty Development with the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University.

This interactive workshop will engage learners and faculty by exploring the common language of loss through different scenarios while also examining tools and resources to support families, learners and ourselves.

Objectives:

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

For information, or to register, please visit: https://fhs.mcmaster.ca/facdev/online_registration.html

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

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 

The Need for Access to Timely Support and Education about Palliative Care

As we all encounter serious illnesses, uncertainty, grief, death and bereavement, there is a remarkable opportunity to create compassionate care for individuals and families of all ages, from time of diagnosis, into remission, at end of life and into bereavement.

It is so essential to demystify the incredible breadth and interprofessional scope of a Palliative approach to care in the education of all health science students and healthcare professionals.

It was a wonderful honour to speak with Death By Design Podcast - Kimberly C. Paul about the future of healthcare. As death is not elective, and illness and dying do not discriminate, we all encounter life-limiting illness, dying and grief. So... let's talk about it.

This episode is available via: http://www.deathbydesign.com/podcast/season-2-episode-10-c-elizabeth-dougherty/

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How the fear of dying taught me how to live

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"Live. Put your phone down. Talk to the person in front of you. Hold the door for people. Smile if someone catches your eye. Say thank you. Say please. Give hugs. Compliment people. Compliment yourself. Love yourself. No one will remember what size the pants are you are wearing but they will remember the way you walked in them. So walk softly. Speak boldly. Love gently. Laugh loudly. Call someone if they cross your mind. Allow yourself to be happy for others, and most importantly allow yourself to be happy for yourself, through every stage and step of your life. Be happy. Life doesn't have to be perfect for it to be perfect."

Source: How the fear of dying taught me how to live

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

 

“We know nothing about what is next” — Lessons on Loving & Losing a Child.

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"I cannot control their world, nor prevent them from all harm. All I can do is try and focus on the now. Focus on what matters... And love them. I can love them in every way I know how."

Source: “We know nothing about what is next”—Lessons on Loving & Losing a Child.

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 

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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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