Education

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

Innovative Undergraduate and Graduate Social Work Programs at Wilfrid Laurier University

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Honoured to be teaching with the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University again this year. Excited to be teaching "Social Work Practice with Groups" to the Undergraduate Bachelor of Social Work Program, and "Advanced Practice with Families" to the Graduate Master of Social Work Program. 

For more information about the innovative B.S.W Program or the M.S.W. Program, please visit:  
https://www.wlu.ca/academics/faculties/faculty-of-social-work/index.html

Communication and Connection for Families Coping with Cancer

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I am honoured to have been a guest on this week’s VoiceAmerica - Live Internet Talk Radio Breast Friends Cancer Support Radio Network. Becky Olson and Sharon Henifin of Breast Friends of Oregon, both breast cancer survivors and thrivers have asked me to be their guest to discuss "Communication and Connection for Families Coping with Cancer", demystifying Palliative Care and highlighting the need to support individuals and families of all ages, from time of diagnosis through to bereavement. At the conclusion of our episode, I highlighted the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association as sources of information for people wanting to learn more about Palliative Care in the U.S. and Canada.

Breast Friends is a nonprofit organization started by Sharon and Becky so that no woman would feel alone on her journey and to provide needed resources to those facing the challenge of breast cancer, as well as to their families and friends. Please visit their website for more information: www.BreastFriends.org.

This episode aired live and is now archived at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/106520/communication-and-connection-for-families-coping-with-cancer

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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

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/

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

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'

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 can Palliative Care Do?

"When you are facing a serious illness, you need relief from symptoms. You need to better understand your condition and choices for care. You need to improve your ability to tolerate medical treatments. And, you and your family need to be able to carry on with everyday life. This is what palliative care can do." #SeriousIllness #PalliativeCare  

For more information visit Get Palliative Care

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."

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."

@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 "

The role of #Social #Workers in #Palliative, #end of life and #bereavement care. #hpm

"Social work is essential to palliative, end of life and bereavement care. Some social workers deliver specialist palliative care social work; many others encounter people who are close to or at the end of their life, or are becoming or are bereaved. Social workers have a great deal to offer". 

#Canadian Virtual #Hospice. Information and #Support on #Palliative and #End-of-Life #Care, #Loss and #Grief. @VirtualHospice

"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."

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.”

In #Palliative #Care, #Comfort is the Top Priority. #HPM

"Although 40 percent of their palliative care patients can expect to be cured, 'there clearly still are both patients and oncologists who have an inappropriate association in their minds,' he said. 'They still associate palliative care with giving up.'

To the contrary, palliative care can help patients live fully, regardless of their prognoses."

Helping #Children #Cope with #ALS

"When a family member has been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) children have many questions and concerns about the person they know and love. We offer these guidelines as a tool to assist your family when talking or sharing information and personal feelings about ALS. You may also want to share this information with other important adults involved in your children’s lives such as teachers and coaches". 

Patients aren’t told that death is near until too late. We can do better.

"Oncologists, cardiologists, and other specialists can often predict a patient’s rate of decline based on a specific disease, Obermeyer said. But patients, particularly those who are elderly, often suffer from more than one serious illness that make it more difficult to predict when they’re near death. So a pulmonologist might treat someone’s pneumonia, for instance, without recognizing it signals a broader decline".