Coping

From Diagnosis to Bereavement: Engaging the Public Across the Continuum

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Excited to present "From Diagnosis to Bereavement: Engaging the Public Across the Continuum" at the 2018 Partners in Care: Central West Palliative Care Network Annual Conference. 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
1. Consider systems challenges impacting care of people facing dying and loss;
2. Examine psychosocial implications for individuals, families and healthcare providers facing illness, grief and bereavement; 
3. Explore compassionate community events as essential opportunities to engage the public following a life-limiting diagnosis through to bereavement. 

For more information, or to register, please visit: http://cwpcn.ca/en/annual-conference/

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

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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The Gift of a Hug for a Grieving Child or Teen

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Receiving a #Hug from a loved one is an incredible connection. Giving hand-knitted Hugs to #grieving #kids and #teens facing the dying or death of a loved one is a wonderful gift.

These #knitted Memory Scarves were made by #volunteers with Canadian Virtual Hospice in support of KidsGrief.ca providing a loving Hug and free resources to grieving kids, teens and families facing dying, grief and loss.

For more information, please visit: http://kidsgrief.ca/

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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

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 

A free Handbook for Supporters. Extending Compassion & Care to Grieving Youth

Am truly honoured to be a partner agency with the Children and Youth Grief Network.

Absolutely thrilled to announce our new resource is now available for FREE to any supporter caring for grieving children and youth. As grief and loss does not discriminate and affects children and teens everywhere, this resource is appropriate for anyone working with, or caring for, children and teens.

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This invaluable resource outlines creative activities, tools and resources while providing essential information about how to support children and teens throughout the grieving process.

If you would like to receive a pdf. of "A Handbook for Supporters. Extending Compassion & Care to Grieving Youth", please contact the Children and Youth Grief Network via info@childrenandyouthgriefnetwork.com

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. 

FREE resources for families facing illness, uncertainty, grief and loss

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Am honoured to have been part of the development team for the latest resource, Kids Grief, which was just launched on the first National Bereavement Day in Canada. I believe it is important to share these valuable resources for individuals and families facing illness, uncertainty, grief and loss. This information is also helpful for any healthcare professional or volunteer wanting more information and resources when providing support in acute care, primary care or within a community setting.

The Canadian Virtual Hospice provides support and personalized information about palliative and end-of-life care to patients, family members, health care providers, researchers and educators. (Source: Canadian Virtual Hospice)

Kids Grief (0-18 yrs.) http://kidsgrief.ca/

Talking with Kids and Teens about Dying and Death. What do I tell the kids? How do I support them? A free online resource to provide guidance to parents on how to support children who are grieving the dying or death of someone in their life. It equips parents with the words and confidence to help their children grieve losses in healthy ways. (Source: Canadian Virtual Hospice)

Ontario Children's Grief Awareness Family Days. Free public events

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Am honoured to be a new partner agency with the Children and Youth Grief Network (CYGN). The CYGN is a collaborative of agencies and organizations that work to support grieving families of all ages.

The CYGN recognizes that "the support received by a grieving child or youth can significantly influence his/her wellbeing. As a result we aim to connect individuals and organizations who provide services and resources that benefit children and youth who are grieving a death."

As the CYGN Mission is "to advocate for educational opportunities and support services that will benefit children and youth who are grieving the dying or the death of someone they care about", in support of National Bereavement Day, the CYGN is offering 2 free community events to support grieving families.

These events are intended for parents/caregivers and their children/teens (under 18 yrs of age) who have experienced the death of a parent/caregiver, child/sibling.

This event is offered for the whole family. Children will participate in facilitated creative activities with trained grief experts, while parents/caregivers will attend a panel presentation and discussions to explore coping strategies and grief support featuring grief professionals and other bereaved families. 

Come explore grief and bereavement coping strategies specifically for families with children and teens. Connect with peers and learn more about the resources available in your community while enjoying the support of caring professionals and other families who share the grief experience.

Snacks, local grief and bereavement resources and gift bag included. 

Reserve your FREE Ontario Children's Grief Awareness Family Day seats via Eventbrite.

2 Dates and 2 Locations!

November 4th @ Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan House (Oakville) https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ontario-childrens-grief-awareness-family-day-oakville-location-tickets-38670386166

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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

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

“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

 

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

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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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."

What Complicated Grief Is Like

"...Today, I can say that, of course, my life was permanently changed by losing Eric, but I know it is possible to make a new life that is rich and satisfying — though often tinged with sadness.

Now I find myself going and doing and functioning, and taking joy in life and its challenges. I never believed that would be possible, but I assure you it is. There are still times, especially good times, when the pain of missing Eric stops me in my tracks. But there are good times.

I believe I have grown in my ability to be compassionate and to understand the pain that others may be experiencing. Once you know the pain of excruciating, incomprehensible loss, you can’t un-know it. But when you endure struggle, you can also learn empathy.

I am sharing this because until I was diagnosed and treated with complicated grief — which I had never even heard of before and which 7 percent of bereaved people struggle with — I felt isolated and like my life had no meaning. I hope my story will reach anyone who’s feeling like that and show them there is hope. I even appeared on CBS to spread the word about complicated grief and help others who may be struggling. The Center for Complicated Grief has a website and can be found here."

Treating troubled family dynamics reduces complicated grief

“Professor David Kissane, who heads the department of psychiatry at Monash University in Melbourne, has developed a family-focussed model of grief therapy to prevent complicated bereavement. A trial published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology earlier this year found the therapy reduced the severity of complicated grief in high-risk families and the development of prolonged grief disorder.

Professor Kissane says bereavement therapy for families is more effective than therapy for individuals when grief is being perpetuated by dysfunctional family relationships. He says the most common family configuration he sees is parents and their children, but for some families it includes a neighbour, grandparents or aunts and uncles.

‘Family centred care is based on the idea that families that grieve together stay together and they heal their grief very well,’ he tells Palliative Matters.”